Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (Jeremiah 6:16)
In my previous post, I mentioned turning again to the sermons of old Bishop John Charles Ryle for my spiritual meat. Truly, this great Victorian Anglican Bishop of Liverpool never fails to satisfy. In his book of addresses, "The Upper Room" I came across the message he preached on the above text.
As probably most of the readers of my blog are aware, this phrase #oldpaths has taken on a distinct meaning among a certain kind of so called fundamentalist preacher in the United States. In their brand of Finneyite religion, the “old paths" has come to centre largely around the trite preaching and personality and loud voice of a slickly dressed preacher with his flashy tie, shiningcuff links, pocket handkerchief etc. If he can shout and holler in the pulpit, then the more the better with extra brownie points accompanying pictures on Twitter of him in an Elijah type pose. And even better again (“out the roof”) if the preacher can do all these things standing on (not merely behind) the pulpit or on the communion table or give a YouTube performance from the tiles of the church roof. (Not necessarily wearing a grass skirt andblonde wig, but hey! if it gets a crowd...)
How refreshing it is to turn away from the show biz type preachers who use every means to promote themselves to sober and godly men like JC Ryle. How did Ryle treat this text with its old paths reference?
Laments that Jeremiah is a neglected book, but relevant to describe the scene in England in the previous 35 years.
POINT ONE: THE EXCELLENT ADVICE: “Stand – see – walk”
Brings in several other verses to collaborate with this advice.
Points out that the young are not noted for their strength in the way of thinking.
Spirit of the age is to hurry but we should not fall for it.
Don’t hurry over prayer or Bible reading or spiritual duties.
Danger of hurrying after politics or business etc., is that it is bad for your spiritual health.
POINT TWO: THE PARTICULAR DIRECTION: “old paths”
What are these old paths?
In context, the old paths to Jeremiah would have been the faith of the Patriarchs and godly kings etc.
Yet these old paths are for every age.
The early Christians walked the old paths.
The Protestant Reformers walked the old paths.
The old paths involves preaching the great gospel themes of redemption and regeneration etc.
There is no worthy alternative to these old paths worth walking.
Mere morality and setting forth Christ as a mere example can deliver men from sin.
If you turn to the most eminent of saints of all denominations, you will find that they walked the old paths.
Those who died in the greatest comfort walked the old paths.
3) POINT THREE: THE PRECIOUS PROMISE: “Walk...find rest...”
Jesus would have had these old paths in mind when he said “Come unto me all ye that labour etc.,” (Matt 11:28)
This is the only remedy for sin.
Every class needs it.
It is an inward (spiritual) experience.
To those walking these old paths and in order to find peace:
Jesus shows Himself to their souls as: Dying on the Cross.
Jesus shows Himself to their souls as: As their great High Priest.
He implants the Spirit of God in their heart.
He reigns as King in their hearts.
All believers experience this peace – although some more than others.
Such peace makes people independent of men’s opinions
Such peace makes people (spiritually) rich.
Only found in one place: In Jesus Christ.
Don’t leave the old paths
Look for where they lead: To better rest above.
END OF SERMON
Compare that with what men like #Hamblin serve up and see why the old Protestant preachers leave them standing. I cannot locate Ryle's sermon on the internet to read, but here is someone reading it on YouTube.