Friday, January 11, 2008

A Short Review 11: The Duties of Parents

The Duties of Parents, J. C. Ryle

Do not let the size of this pamphlet fool you. Although it may be small of stature, it is weighty in the things of the Lord. The godly and copious writings of J. C. Ryle have encouraged and strengthened believers for years, and this work is no exception.

There is no stone left unturned, no ally-way of thought left unexplored, while Ryle examines, exhorts and entreats parents to follow the will of the Lord. Covering twenty-seven topics, the author reminds parents to train up the child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6). This means, amongst other things, the educational, spiritual and disciplinary training of the child. However, it is not merely another mainstream “how-to” book that divorces Christ from doctrine and life by creating a 1-2-3 step program after the fashion of Oprah Winphrey, but an earnest plea to apply the truths of the Word—man’s inborn depravity, Christ’s atonement, and God’s mean’s of grace—to the life of one’s child.

Even as doctrine and life are woven into the fiber of the book, and the dangers of negligence and over-indulgence are forcibly presented through Puritan-like illustration, Ryle lovingly reminds parents of the promise of God (Prov. 22:6). The Proverbial promise, he reminds us, is through the means established by God, even as the dispensing of God’s gifts are within His holy sovereignty.

Powerfully arguing for old-fashioned discipline and training based upon the Word and the Love of Christ, The Duties of Parents is a must for young and old parents alike.


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