I finished Holiness by J. C. Ryle yesterday. I’ll be having a full book review coming up in a couple of weeks, but as for now I will tell you the book was excellent. That being said. . .the first book I read by Ryle was Thoughts for Young Men. I remember wishing I had read it when I was still a teenager. This is a snippet from the book:
Young men, it is appointed unto you once to die; and however strong and healthy you may be now, the day of your death is perhaps very near. I see young people sick as well as old. I bury youthful copses as well as aged. I read the names of persons no older than yourselves in every churchyard. I learn from books that, excepting infancy and old age, more die between thirteen and twenty-three than at any other season of life. And yet you live as if you were sure at present not to die at all.
Are you thinking you will mind these things (spiritual matters) tomorrow? Remember the words of Solomon: ‘Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth’ (Prov. 27:I). ‘Serious things tomorrow’, said the heath, to one who warned him of coming danger; but his tomorrow never came. Tomorrow is the devil’s day, but today is God’s. Satan cares not how spiritual your intentions may be, and how holy your resolutions, if only they are fixed for tomorrow.
Who does not need that last word? Surely we all do. I’ll get to my Bible-reading tomorrow. I’ll get back to praying tomorrow. I’ll start up family-worship tomorrow. Like Archias, the general of ancient Thebes who postponed reading a letter revealing a plot to kill him the following day, we put “serious things tomorrow.” Yet what if tomorrow does not come? This isn’t to say that we are to only read our Bibles, pray, and have family worship/devotions. But it is to say that today is a great time to start. “Tomorrow is the Devil’s day; but today is God’s.” If it pertainly to godliness, holiness, righteousness, let us not put it off until tomorrow; there’s no time like the present to attend to spiritual matters.