Straightforward Thoughts for Young Men
The decisions we make while young affect our future, both now and in eternity. This little book is a straightforward plea with young men to carefully consider their hearts and lives before the Lord, with practical advice offered to help young men be victorious in spiritual battle.
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other – Galatians 5:17
Young men, you form a large and very important class in the population of this country; but where, and in what condition, are your souls? I am growing old myself, but there are few things that I can remember so well as the days of my youth. I have a most distinct recollection of the joys and the sorrows, the hopes and the fears, the temptations and the difficulties, the mistaken judgments and the misplaced affections, and the errors and the aspirations which surround and accompany a young man’s life. If I can only say something to keep some young man walking in the right way and preserve him from faults and sins, which may hurt his prospects both for time and eternity, I shall be very thankful. There are four things which I propose to do:
- I will mention some general reasons why young men need exhorting.
- I will note some special dangers which young men need to be warned about.
- I will give some general advice which I beg young men to receive.
- I will set down some special rules of conduct which I strongly advise young men to follow.
On each of these four points I have something to say, and my young friend, I pray to God that what I say may do good to your soul.
– J. C. Ryle
About the Author
John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) graduated from Eton and Oxford and then pursued a career in politics, but due to lack of funds, he entered the clergy of the Church of England. He was a contemporary of Spurgeon, Moody, Mueller, and Taylor and read the great theologians like Wesley, Bunyan, Knox, Calvin, and Luther. These all influenced Ryle’s understanding and theology. Ryle began his writing career with a tract following the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge tragedy, where more than a hundred people drowned. He gained a reputation for straightforward preaching and evangelism. He travelled, preached, and wrote more than 300 pamphlets, tracts, and books, including Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Principles for Churchmen, and Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century. Ryle used the royalties from his writing to pay his father’s debts, but he also felt indebted to that ruin for changing the direction of his life. He was recommended by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli to be Bishop of Liverpool where he ended his career in 1900.