Bishop J. C. Ryle
There is a simple solution to the greatest problem (Where will you spend eternity?) facing humanity. Faith in Christ is the only medicine for man’s spiritual disease, and the only bridge from earth to heaven. J. C. Ryle explains its importance:
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38)
The efficacy of a medicine depends in great measure on the manner in which it is used. The best prescription of the best physician is useless if we refuse to follow the directions which accompany it. Suffer the word of exhortation, while I offer some caution and advice about the Fountain of living water.
He that thirsts and wants relief must come to Christ Himself: He must not be content with coming to His Church and His ordinances, or to the assemblies of His people for prayer and praise. He must not stop short even at His holy table, or rest satisfied with privately opening his heart to His ordained minister. Oh, no! he that is content with only drinking their waters “shall thirst again.” (John iv. 13.) He must go higher, further, much further than this. He must have personal dealings with Christ Himself: all else in religion is worthless without Him. . . . The hand of man may take the stone from the grave and show the dead; but none but Jesus can say to the dead, “Come forth and live.”
He that thirsts and wants relief from Christ must actually come to Him. It is not enough to wish, and talk, and mean, and intend, and resolve, and hope. Hell, that awful reality, is truly said to be paved with good intentions. Thousands are yearly lost in this fashion, and perish miserably just outside the harbour. Meaning and intending they live; meaning and intending they die. . . . [We must] “come to ourselves” and think, but we must actually come to the High Priest, to Christ. We must come to the Physician. (Sermon: “If Any Man!”)
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