Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Thoughts on Manhood (Courtesy of J.C. Ryle)

Carl Trueman's superb article has prompted more sustained reflection on the meaning of manhood. One resource I have found particularly helpful on the topic is J.C. Ryle's Thoughts for Young Men. This little book is wonderful to work through with High School guys. Here's a quote I read today that was particularly sobering...

Youth is the seedtime of full age - the moulding season in the little space of human life - the turning point in the history of man's mind. By the shoot we judge of the tree - by the blossoms we judge of the fruit - by the spring we judge of the harvest - by the morning we judge of the day - and by the character of the young man, we may generally judge what he will be when he grows up.

Young men, be not deceived. Think not you can, at will, serve lusts and pleasures in your beginning, and then go and serve God with ease at your latter end. Think not you can live with Esau, and then die with Jacob. It is a mockery to deal with God and your souls in such a fashion. It is an awful mockery to suppose you can give the flower of your strength to the world and the devil, and then put off the King of Kings with the scraps and leavings of your hearts - the wreck and remnant of your powers. It is an awful mockery, and you may find to your cost the thing cannot be done.
(p. 11)


Charity Leslie said...
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Charity Leslie said...

I wonder to what degree the Church is responsible for lack of youthful devotion. I often heard messages in my youth, concerning abstinence, that had more to do with virginity than purity, with holding on rather than persevering. Ravi Zacharias' ministry once discussed that virtue is not a lack of wrongful things, so much as the attainment of rightful things, just as white is not devoid of color, but rather possesses within itself the full array of the spectrum of colors.

Perhaps we should leave off such one-note talk of the avoidance of evil and start anew to discussion the excellence of good, the singlular victory to be achieve through one pure and holy passion for Christ. That alone, I believe, propelled my young heart down a studied course of virtue.

Anonymous said...


I agree that only emphasizing the avoidance of evil is wrongheaded. Ryle emphasizes the pursuit of virtue as well as resisting temptation in his book. However, given that Scripture speaks a bunch about both, I don't see any problem with what Ryle is saying.