Are you one of those people that wish we could get back to singing “Give Me That Old Time Religion” in worship services? Do you miss old fashioned sermons that talked passionately about the saints of old and the hope of heaven? If so, you might enjoy Heading for Heaven by J.C Ryle. Ryle’s book is not for everyone, but the person that enjoys passionate gospel sermons with clear exposition of the Scriptures will love this collection of wise words from a well-respected preacher of former times.
Heading for Heaven is a small book that shares 6 sermons about eternal life by an English Evangelical Anglican from the nineteenth century. Each sermon has an evangelistic flare to it. These sermons are not easy reading. There are very few cute illustrations to make his Bible teaching more understandable. Ryle just looks at the Scripture he is preaching, and calls things the way he sees them. For instance, on the first page of the first sermon entitled “One Way” Ryle says, “I say, who does not wish to go to heaven. But I do sadly fear that many of you, without a mighty change, will never get there. You would like the crown, but you do not like the cross; you would like the glory, but do not like the grace; the happiness but not the holiness….”
Whoever arranged these sermons arranged them in a good order. As one reads through the book the reader notices that he feels like one is on a journey of ascent to heavenly realms.
The writing of J.C. Ryle reminded me of similar collections from this time period and the century before. Each sermon shares clearly with the reader the arguments they want to make, they propose a number of thesis based upon the text, and then the sermons that follow argue those thesis.
I would have liked this book to have put these sermons in context. Where were they preached? Why is this preacher significant? What was his life story? What led the editors and compilers to choose these sermons? Who are the editors? In some places the sermons referred to current conditions that the author faced, but there was not one footnote to explain the particulars of the situation that he was speaking to. The book also has a font and layout that leads the reader to believe that it was rather quickly put together, and rather inexpensively printed as well.
I think this is an excellent collection of sermons. It does seem, however, to be rather hastily put together. Nevertheless, the lover of old-fashioned sermons that preached the gospel with passion and interpreted the Word seriously and with evangelical conviction will love this book. – Clint Walker, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Most people would like to believe that they are ‘heading for heaven'... but are they? There is only ‘one way' says J. C. Ryle. Those who are in Christ have a ‘sure hope'. Only they can have the assurance that through the efficacy of Christ's work they will one day be ‘home at last'.
J. C. Ryle, one of the outstanding evangelical leaders of the nineteenth century, preached and wrote with clarity and simplicity. In these days when evangelical preachers are accused of being either superficial or dull, we have in this little book a great example from one who was neither of these things. What he has to say about heaven and eternal glory should be an encouragement to every true believer and a challenge to those who are without Christ and eternal hope.