J.C. Ryle on Diligence in the Public Means of Grace

Recently I talked about some growing ideas of mine on what Children’s Ministry is. The more I read from God’s word, listen to wise speakers, and read books, I see God’s plan for families, I see that he has ordained the perfect place for children to grow in the fear of the Lord and to treasure Christ.

Right now I am loving this book called “The Duties of Parents” by J.C. Ryle. It’s a very short book (about 40 pages) and is loaded with a ton of truth in very simple chapters. It was written in 1860 so be prepared for lots of “fancied” this and “fancied” that. J  Concerning explaining children the benefit of going to church together as a family with God’s people he says:

“Tell them the duty and privilege of going to the house of God, and joining in the prayers of the congregation….Tell them of the importance of hearing the Word preached, and that it is God’s ordinance for converting, sanctifying, and building up the souls of men. Tell them how the Apostle Paul enjoins us not “to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, and the manner of some is” (Heb 10:25); but to exhort one another, to stir one another up to it, and so much more as we see the day approaching…

“What I like to see is a whole family sitting together, old and young, side by side,-men, women, and children, serving God according to their households…

And just like there is reasoning today that children cannot understand what the Pastor, there was the same reasoning in 1860 as well…

“But there are some who say that it is useless to urge children to attend means of grace, because they cannot understand them. I would not have you listen to such reasoning. I find no such doctrine in the Old Testament. When Moses goes before Pharoh (Ex. 10:9), I observe he says, “We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters; for must hold a feast unto the Lord.” When Joshua read the law (Josh 8: 35), I observe, “There was not a word which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with women and little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.”

“Samuel, in the days of his childhood, appears to have ministered unto the Lord some time before he really knew Him. “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him” (1 Sam. 3:7)”

Well I’ll let J.C. Ryle finish off the post for me:

“Parents, comfort your minds with these examples. Be not cast down because your children see not the full value of the means of grace now. Only train them up to a habit of regular attendance. Set it before their minds as a high, holy, and solemn duty, and believe me, the day will very likely come when they will bless you for your deed.”

(In writing this post my only aim was 1 particular issue: Seeing the value in having your children in the service with you, explaining that to them, and being encouraged that even Samuel served the Lord not yet knowing him-and he became a priest! Going to church will not be the only way a child comes to know the Lord. This post is a small sub-point on a much larger topic which is the title of Ryle’s book “The Duties of a Parent” Get a free copy of the book here.)


  1. Awesome! Did Tim glean from this for his ideas of kids ministry? Where did you learn of this book? Looks good. I like to be "fancied". ;)