I really enjoyed reading this book. It was very interesting to learn about J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), and what he taught.
His book 'Holiness,' which is included in this biography, is one of my favorites.
J.I. Packer, the author of this bio, expressed a fondness and respect for J.C. Ryle and I could tell he looked up to him as a leader in the church.
J.C. Ryle was an Anglican pastor in Victorian England, who had a passion for Christ and His Word. A man who stood his ground when it came to orthodoxy, as well as loved his people and family well. One thing that fascinated me, was Ryle's love of the Puritans and their teachings. I haven't read a lot of Puritan literature but this book piqued my interest and I'm looking forward to adding some to my TBR!
J. I. Packer says here:
"Ryle looked to the seventeenth-century Puritans as classic evangelicals, and made no secret of being 'a thorough lover of Puritan theology.' "
J.C. Ryle says here:
"For myself, I can only say, that the very reason why many in this day dislike the Puritans is the very reason why I love them... They deserve honor, in my opinion, on account of their bold and outspoken Protestantism. They deserve honor on account of their clear, sharply-cut, distinct Evangelicalism. I want to see their writings more widely read, and their conduct more fairly judged and duly appreciated by English Churchmen...As long as I live, I hope I shall never be ashamed to stand up for them."
In the last chapter of this book Packer expresses and explains his love of the puritan writers as well.
After finishing this book I have a greater appreciation for J.C. Ryle and what he taught. He held Scripture up to the highest of standards and honored God with his devotion to His truth. The gospel of Jesus Christ was the center of his preaching and of his own life.
J.C. Ryle says here of what should be taught from the pulpit:
"All the simplicity in the world can do no good, unless you preach the simple gospel of Jesus Christ so fully and clearly that everyone can understand it. If Christ crucified has not his rightful place in your sermons, and sin is not exposed as it should be, and your people are not plainly told what they ought to believe, and be, and do, your preaching is of no use."
Strong words, but desperately needed in our churches today.
I also loved that J.C. Ryle was a reader. : ) He loved to think about what he read and how it could be applied.
He says here of reading great Christian books:
"...books in which Scripture is reverently regarded as the only rule of faith and practice - books in which Christ and the Holy Ghost have their rightful office - books in which justification, and sanctification, and regeneration, and faith, and grace, and holiness are clearly, distinctly, and accurately delineated, and exhibited...are books which do real good."
I agree. Christian books that center on Christ, do real good.
If you are looking for a masterpiece on Christian living, I highly recommend 'Holiness' by J.C. Ryle, and if you would like to get to know this man better, I recommend this book on his life as well.
I will leave you with one of my favorite J.C. Ryle quotes from his book 'Holiness.' It shows his heart, and that his heart is with Christ:
"Christ loves His people to lean on Him, to rest in Him, to call on Him, to abide in Him.
Let us all learn and strive to do so more and more.
Let us live on Christ. Let us live in Christ. Let us live with Christ. Let us live to Christ.
So doing, we shall prove that we fully realize that 'Christ is all.' So doing we shall feel great peace, and attain more of that 'holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.' (Heb. 12:14)"
Buy it HERE on Amazon