(J. C. Ryle, "Calvary")
I know no greater proof of man's depravity
than the fact that thousands of so called
Christians see nothing lovely in the cross.
Well may our hearts be called stony,
well may the eyes of our mind be called blind,
well may our whole nature be called diseased,
well may we all be called dead, when the cross
of Christ is heard of, and yet neglected.
Surely we may take up the words of the prophet,
and say, "Hear, O heavens, and be astonished,
O earth: A horrible and shocking thing is done!"
Christ was crucified for sinners, and yet many
Christians live as if He was never crucified at all!
Would I know how exceedingly sinful and
abominable sin is in the sight of God?
Shall I turn to the history of the flood,
and read how sin drowned the world?
Shall I go to and mark what sin
brought on Sodom and Gomorrah?
No! I can find a clearer proof still,
I look at what happened on Calvary.
There I see that sin is so black and
damnable that nothing but the blood
of God's own Son can wash it away.
There I see that sin has so separated me
from my holy Maker that all the angels
in heaven could never have made peace
between us: nothing could reconcile us,
short of the death of Christ.
Ah, if I listened to the wretched talk of
proud men I might sometimes imagine sin
was not so very sinful; but I cannot think
little of sin when I look at Calvary.
I find no balm for a sore conscience and a
troubled heart like the sight of Jesus dying
for me on the accursed tree. There I see
that a full payment has been made for all
my enormous debts.
I feel sure that there is a way to heaven for
the very vilest of men, when I look at the cross.
Would I find strong reasons for being a holy
man? I will look at Calvary and the crucifixion.
There I see that Jesus gave Himself for me,
not only to redeem me from iniquity, but also
to purify me. He bore my sins in His own body
on the tree, that I being dead unto sin should
live unto righteousness.
Ah, reader, there is nothing so sanctifying
as a clear view of the cross of Christ!
It crucifies the world unto us, and us unto the world.
How can we love sin when we remember
that because of our sins Jesus died?
Would I learn how to be contented and cheerful
under all the cares and anxieties of life? What
school shall I go to? How shall I attain this
state of mind most easily? Shall I look at the
sovereignty of God, the wisdom of God, the
providence of God, the love of God? It is well to
do so. But I have a better argument still.
I will look at Calvary and the crucifixion.
I feel that He who spared not His only begotten
Son but delivered Him up to die for me, will surely
with Him give me all things that I really need.
He that endured that pain for my soul, will surely
not withhold from me anything that is really good.
He that has done the greater things for me,
will doubtless do the lesser things also.
He that gave His own blood to procure me a
home, will unquestionably supply me with all
that is really profitable for me by the way.
Ah, reader, there is no school for learning
contentment that can be compared with
Calvary and the foot of the cross!