J.C. Ryle’s Thoughts for Young Men is a fantastic read for all men, not just the young. It will guide the young and equip the old to train the young. It is a practical treatment on the spiritual formation of godly young men. Ryle is full of biblical wisdom and insights into human nature. The principles are gospel-centric, relative, and lively. Although published in the latter half of the nineteenth century, it is a book for today.
I read the book earlier this year, but now I’m working through it with my son. I have him read a section (usually heading to heading which amount to about 2-3 pages) and then he summarizes for me. I clarify to him the main idea (in more concise and easy to remember terms) to help it sink in more concretely. We’ve found it very helpful in our father-son time.
In doing so, I decided to turn each of the readings (headings) into resolutions that I could print out and frame in my son’s room. This way, he would have our discussions and the principles before him all the time. I suggested that he read them each morning and evening when possible. Here are the 17 resolutions produced from the book:
- RESOLVED to be one of the few young men who have religious affections.
- RESOLVED to be mindful of death and judgment which are always before me, as to others, and to not forget it.
- RESOLVED to be ever mindful that what I will be later, depends on what I am now.
- RESOLVED to be keenly aware that the devil uses special diligence to destroy my soul, and to be alert to his schemes.
- RESOLVED to serve God now, or sorrow and regret will come later.
- RESOLVED to fight with all my might the dangers of pride, love of pleasure, thoughtlessness and inconsideration, contempt of religion, and fear of man’s opinion.
- RESOLVED to get a clear view of the evil of sin from Scripture, man’s nature, the cost of the cross, history, and misery and sorrow.
- RESOLVED to become acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ as the treasury of my soul and giver of good life.
- RESOLVED to never forget that nothing is so important as my soul.
- RESOLVED to remember that it is possible to be a young man and yet to serve God.
- RESOLVED to make the Bible my guide and adviser for as long as I live, and to read it prayerfully, reverently, and regularly.
- RESOLVED to never make an intimate friend of anyone who is not a friend of God.
- RESOLVED, by God’s help, to break off at once every known sin, however small.
- RESOLVED, by God’s help, to shun everything which may prove an occasion for sin.
- RESOLVED to never forget the eye of God sees me at all times and in all places.
- RESOLVED to be diligent in the use of public means of grace.
- RESOLVED to pray wherever I am.