Thursday, September 07, 2006

Prove All Things

"Prove all things: hold fast that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

"This is private judgment. This is the right you are to exercise if you love your soul. You are not to believe things in religion merely because they are said by Popes or Cardinals,—by Bishops or Priests,—by Presbyters or Deacons,—by Churches, Councils, or Synods,—by Fathers, Puritans, or Reformers. You are not to argue, "Such and such things must be true, because these men say so." You are not to do so. You are to prove all things by the Word of God I know such doctrine sounds shocking in some men's ears. But I write it down advisedly, and believe it cannot be disproved. I want to encourage no man in ignorant presumption or ignorant contempt. I praise not the man who seldom reads his Bible, and yet sets himself up to pick holes in his minister's sermons. I praise not the man who knows nothing but a few texts in the New Testament, and yet undertakes to settle questions in divinity which have puzzled God's wisest children. But still I hold that "all hearers have both liberty to discern and a charge to beware seducers; and woe to them that do it not." "We are not to believe all who undertake to teach in the Church, but must take care and weigh with serious examination, whether their doctrine be sound or not." Men may dislike the doctrine of private judgment, but there is no doubt that it is continually taught in the Word of God." —J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)

First published by Drummond's Tract Depot, Stirling, Scotland by J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)

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