Ryle on Marriage

A few asked for a copy of this quote from JC Ryle after yesterday morning’s sermon.

This is from his Expository Thoughts on Mark’s Gospel.

“The marriage relation lies at the very root of the social system of nations. The public morality of a people, and the private happiness of the families which compose a people, are deeply involved in the whole question of the law of marriage. The experience of all nations confirms the wisdom of our Lord’s decision in this passage in the most striking manner. It is a fact clearly ascertained, that polygamy and permission to obtain divorce on slight grounds have a direct tendency to promote immorality. In short, the nearer a nation’s laws about marriage approach to the law of Christ, the higher has the moral tone of that nation always proved to be.

In no relation is so much earthly happiness to be found if it is entered upon discreetly, advisedly and in the fear of God. In none is so much misery seen to follow if it is taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, wantonly and without thought. From no step in life does so much benefit come to the soul, if people marry “in the Lord.” From none does the soul take so much harm if fancy, passion or any mere worldly motive is the only cause which produces the union. 

Happy are those who in the matter of marriage observe three rules. The first is to marry only in the Lord, and after prayer for God’s approval and blessing. The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels. The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another’s sanctification. The more holy married people are, the happier they are.”