March 16, 2006

The city was full of idols! By J. C. Ryle

"While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was troubled within him when he saw that the city was full of idols!" Acts 17:16

Man will have a religion of some kind, for human nature, corrupt as it is, must have a god. But it will be a religion without light, or peace, or hope. The feelings with which we regard sin, heathenism, and false religion are a subject of vast importance. It is a sorrowful fact, that most professing Christians regard the semi-heathen districts of our country with apathy, coolness, and indifference. But Paul was deeply troubled when he saw that the city was full of idols!

Paul was stirred with holy compassion. It troubled his heart to see so many myriads perishing for lack of knowledge--without God, without Christ, having no hope, traveling in the broad road which leads to destruction!

Paul was stirred with holy indignation against sin and the devil. He saw the god of this world blinding the eyes of multitudes of his fellow-men, and leading them captive at his will. He saw the natural corruption of man infecting the population of a vast city like one common disease, and an utter absence of any spiritual medicine, antidote, or remedy!

Paul was stirred with holy zeal for His Master's glory. He saw his Divine Master unknown and unrecognized by His own creatures--and idols receiving the homage due to the King of kings! Millions of immortal beings at this moment are sunk in ignorance, superstition, and idolatry! They live and die without God, without Christ, and without hope! Ought not these things to stir our hearts? Ought not our hearts to be affected by the sight of false religion and heathenism? We ought to feel compassion when we think of the wretched state of unconverted souls, and the misery of all who live and die without Christ! By J. C. Ryle