This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?
(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel
"This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
Murmurs and complaints of this kind are very
common. It must never surprise us to hear them.
They have been, they are, they will be, as long
as the world stands.
To some Christ's sayings appear hard to understand.
To others they appear hard to believe. And to others,
harder still to obey.
It is just one of the many ways in which the natural
corruption of man shows itself. So long as the heart
is naturally . . .
fond of self-indulgence and sin,
so long there will never be lacking people who will
say of Christian doctrines and precepts, "This is a
hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
Fallen man, in interpreting the Bible, has an
unhappy aptitude for turning food into poison.
There is a melancholic anxiety in fallen man
to put a carnal sense on Scriptural expressions,
wherever he possibly can.
He struggles hard to make religion a matter . . .
of forms and ceremonies;
of doing and performing;
of sacraments and ordinances;
of sense and of sight.
He secretly dislikes that system of Christianity
which makes the state of the heart the principal
There is a tendency in many minds to attach an
excessive importance to the outward and visible
parts of religion. They seem to think that the sum
and substance of Christianity consists in public
ceremonies and forms, in appeals to the eye and
ear, and bodily excitement.