Beyond the typically 19th century vocabulary and style, this book is a treasure. He asks a question that I think goes to the core of any Christian's journey. He writes "let me ask everyone who may read these pages, are you holy? Listen I pray you, to a question I put you to today. Do you know anything of holiness?"
"I do not ask whether you attend your church regularly, whether you have been baptized, and received the Lord's Supper; whether you have the name of Christian. I ask something more than all this: are you holy, or are you not?"
"I do not ask whether you apporve of holiness in others, whether you like to read the lives of holy people and to talk of holy things, and to have on your table holy books, whether you mean to be holy, and hope you will be holy some day, or are you not?"
"And why do I ask so straitly [sic] and press the question so strongly? I do it because the Scripture says, 'Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."
Discipleship is not an optional matter for a Christian. If we are sitting in the stands as a spectator while others do ministry for us, we are not only NOT living, we are not growing, not being faithful. Ryle points out that being a Christian is not merely a matter of believing and feeling, but of DOING!
I ask that question of myself this morning... what does my "doing" reveal of my faith? Doing won't ever save us (that is a free gift from God through grace) but faith without actions is a lifeless thing. Why? Because it doesn't grow us as disciples, nor does it lead us to holiness.
Sombering thoughts but an important challenge!