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Matthew

A Crown of Glory and a Daily Cross

"It would be good for the churches of Christ if these sayings of our Lord were remembered more than they are. It may be feared that the lesson they contain is too often overlooked by the ministers of the Gospel, and that thousands are admitted to full communion who are never warned to count the cost. Nothing, in fact, has done more harm to Christianity than the practice of filling the ranks of Christ's army with every volunteer who is willing to make a little profession, and to talk fluently of his 'experience.' It has been painfully forgotten that numbers alone do not make strength, and that there may be a great quantity of mere outward religion, while there is very little of real grace. Let us remember this. Let us keep back nothing from young believers and inquirers after Christ: let us not enlist them on false pretences. Let us tell them plainly that there is a crown of glory at the end, but let us also tell them no less plainly that there is a daily cross on the way."

J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthew, p. 59

Cheefulness

"Let us learn from our Lord's instructions about fasting the great importance of cheerfulness in our religion. Those words, 'put oil on your head and wash your face' (verse 17) are full of deep meaning. They should teach us to aim at letting men see that Christianity makes us happy. Never let us forget that there is no religion in looking melancholy and gloomy. Are we dissatisfied with Christ's wages and Christ's service? Surely not! Then let us not look as if we were."

-J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthewp. 43-44.