J. C. Ryle

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J. C. Ryle.

John Charles Ryle (May 10, 1816 – June 10, 1900) was the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool.


Only One Way (1850)[edit]

Ipswich: Hunt & Son, 1850

  • Remember that you are to venture the whole salvation of your soul on Christ, and on Christ only. You are to cast loose completely and entirely from all other hopes and trusts. You are not to rest partly on Christ,—partly on doing all you can,—partly on keeping your Church,—partly on receiving the sacrament. In the matter of your justification Christ is to be all.
    • p. 6
  • I cannot find in Scripture that anyone ever got to heaven merely by sincerity, or was accepted with God if he was only earnst in maintaining his own views.[…] Sincerity cannot put away sin.
    • pp. 17–18
  • Salvation in Christ to the very uttermost, but out of Christ no salvation at all.[…] Grant for a moment that the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible is God's truth, and I know not in what way we can escape the doctrine of the text. From the liberality which says every body is right,—from the charity which forbids you to say any body is wrong,—from the peace which is bought at the expense of truth, may the good Lord deliver you!
    • pp. 18, 19–20

Startling Questions (1853)[edit]

New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1853

  • A hopeful growing believer is a walking sermon. He preaches far more than I do, for he preaches all the week round, shaming the unconverted, sharpening the converted, showing to all what grace can do.
    • "Where Art Thou?", p. 40
  • All the sciences in the world never smoothed down a dying pillow. No earthly philosophy ever supplied hope in death.
    • "How Readest Thou?", p. 146
  • Take away the cross of Christ, and the Bible is a dark book.
    • "What Think You of the Cross?", p. 276
  • [T]here is more to be learned at the foot of the cross than anywhere else in the world.
    • "What Think You of the Cross?", p. 284
  • Assurance is more than life. It is health, strength, power, vigor, activity, energy, manliness, beauty.
    • "Have You Assurance?", p. 329
  • The believer who follows the Lord most fully, will ordinarily enjoy the most assured hope, and have the clearest persuasion of his own salvation.
    • "Have You Assurance?", p. 370

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: St. Matthew (1856)[edit]

New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1857

  • It was the whole Trinity, which at the beginning of creation said, "let us make man." It was the whole Trinity again, which at the beginning of the Gospel seemed to say, "let us save man."
    • Matthew III: 13–17, p. 23
  • Knowledge of the Bible never comes by intuition. It can only be got by hard, regular, daily, attentive, wakeful reading.
    • Matthew IV: 1–11, p. 26
  • It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear.
    • Matthew VII: 12–20, pp. 68–69
  • Jesus hears us, and in His own good time will give an answer.
    • Matthew XV: 21–28, p. 182

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: St. Mark (1857)[edit]

Ipswich: William Hunt, 1857

  • Without a divine call no one can be saved. We are all so sunk in sin, and so wedded to the world, that we would never turn to God, unless He first called us by His grace.
    • Mark II: 13–22, p. 31
  • The heart is the part of man which God chiefly notices in religion.
    • Mark VII: 1–13, p. 136
  • It must not content us to take our bodies to church if we leave our hearts at home.
    • Mark VII: 1–13, p. 136
  • The world's idea of greatness is to rule, but Christian greatness consists in serving.
    • Mark IX: 30–37, p. 187
  • Let it never surprise true Christians if they are slandered and misrepresented in this world. They must not expect to fare better than their Lord.
    • Mark XIV: 53–65, p. 329

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: St. Luke (1858–1859)[edit]

Ipswich: William Hunt. Vol. I (1858). Vol. II (1859).

  • However corrupt our hearts, and however wicked our past lives, there is hope for us in the Gospel.
    • Vol. I, Luke V: 12–16, p. 137
  • A converted man will not wish to go to heaven alone.
    • Vol. I, Luke V: 27–32, p. 150
  • We must give up the idea of trying to please everybody. That is impossible, and the attempt is a mere waste of time. We must be content to walk in Christ's steps, and let the world say what it likes.
    • Vol. I, Luke VII: 31–35, p. 230
  • The highest form of selfishness is that of the man who is content to go to heaven alone.
    • Vol. I, Luke VIII: 16–21, p. 257
  • Nothing is so offensive to Christ as lukewarmness in religion.
    • Vol. II, Luke XI: 21–26, p. 25
  • Wealth is no mark of God's favour. Poverty is no mark of God's displeasure.
    • Vol. II, Luke XVI: 19–31, p. 212
  • We are all naturally self-righteous. It is the family-disease of all the children of Adam.
    • Vol. II, Luke XVIII: 9–14, p. 259
  • The heart that has really tasted the grace of Christ, will instinctively hate sin.
    • Vol. II, Luke XIX: 1–10, p. 294
  • The love of Christ towards His people is a deep well which has no bottom.
    • Vol. II, Luke XXII: 54–62, p. 438

Home Truths (1859)[edit]

Ipswich: William Hunt, 1859

  • The Lord Jesus is a friend who never changes. There is no fickleness about Him. Those whom He loves, He loves unto the end.
    • Ch. II: "Do You Want a Friend?", p. 21
  • So long as you do not quarrel with sin, you will never be a truly happy man.
    • Ch. II: "Repent, or Perish", p. 60
  • No man ever said at the end of his days, "I have read my Bible too much, I have thought of God too much, I have prayed too much, I have been too careful about my soul."
    • Ch. II: "Repent, or Perish", p. 73
  • When does the building of the Spirit really begin to appear in a man's heart? It begins, so far as we can judge, when he first pours out his heart to God in prayer.
    • Ch. IV: "Do You Pray?", p. 133

A Call to Prayer (1867)[edit]

New York: American Tract Society, 1867

  • Prayer will consume sin, or sin will choke prayer.
    • p. 16
  • The only way to be really happy in such a world as this, is to be ever casting all our cares on God.
    • p. 35
  • If you desire salvation, and want to know what to do, I advise you to go this very day to the Lord Jesus Christ, in the first private place you can find, and earnestly and heartily entreat him in prayer to save your soul. Tell him that you have heard that he receives sinners, and he has said, "Him that comes unto me I will in nowise cast out." Tell him that you are a poor vile sinner, and that you come to him on the faith of his own invitation. Tell him you put yourself wholly and entirely in his hands: that you feel vile and helpless, and hopeless in yourself: and that except he saves you, you have no hope of being saved at all. Beseech him to deliver you from guilt, the power, and the consequences of sin. Beseech him to pardon you, and wash you in his own blood. Beseech him to give you a new heart, and plant the Holy Spirit in your soul. Beseech him to give you grace and faith and will and power to be his disciple and servant from this day forever. Oh, reader, go this very day, and tell these things to the Lord Jesus Christ, if you are really in earnest about your soul.
    • pp. 42–43

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: St. John (1865–1873)[edit]

New York: Robert Carter & Brothers. Vol. I (1865). Vol II (c. 1870). Vol III (1873).

  • I believe that the want of our age is not more "free" handling of the Bible, but more "reverent" handling, more humility, more patient study, and more prayer.
    • Vol. I, Preface, p. ix
  • Ignorance of Scripture is the root of every error in religion, and the source of every heresy.
    • Vol. I, Preface, p. xiii
  • Laughter, ridicule, opposition, persecution, are often the only reward which Christ's followers get from the world.
    • Vol. II, John XII: 20–26, p. 334
  • There is only one door, one bridge, one ladder, between earth and heaven,—the crucified Son of God.
    • Vol. III, John XIV: 4–11, p. 60
  • [T]he devil has more knowledge than any of us, and yet is no better for it.
    • Vol. III, John XV: 22–27, p. 123
  • Our Lord has many weak children in His family, many dull pupils in His school, many raw soldiers in His army, and many lame sheep in His flock. Yet He bears with them all, and casts none away.
    • Vol. III, John XX: 24–31, p. 406

Knots Untied (1877)[edit]

William Hunt and Company, 1877

  • The blood of Christ can cleanse away all sin. But we must "plead guilty" before God can declare us innocent.
    • Ch. XII: "Confession", p. 261
  • A true worshipper will every year know more of self, and God, and heaven, and duty, and doctrine, and practice, and experience. His religion is a living thing, and will grow.
    • Ch. XIII: "Worship", p. 295
  • Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth upon the altar of peace.
    • Ch. XVII: "The Fallibility of Ministers", p. 373
  • Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing, which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.
    • Ch. XVII: "The Fallibility of Ministers", p. 383

Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots (1877)[edit]

Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007

  • A holy man will follow after purity of heart. He will dread all filthiness and uncleanness of spirit, and seek to avoid all things that might draw him into it. He knows his own heart is like tinder, and will diligently keep clear of the sparks of temptation. Who shall dare to talk of strength when David can fall? There is many a hint to be gleaned from the ceremonial law. Under it the man who only touched a bone, or a dead body, or a grave, or a diseased person, became at once unclean in the sight of God. And these things were emblems and figures. Few Christians are ever too watchful and too particular about this point.
    • Ch. 3: "Holiness", pp. 46–47
  • When I speak of a man "growing in grace," I mean simply this—that his sense of sin is becoming deeper, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, his love more extensive, his spiritual-mindedness more marked.
    • Ch. 6: "Growth", p. 105
  • The Bible in the pulpit must never supersede the Bible at home.
    • Ch. 19: "Wants of the Times", p. 381

Old Paths (1878)[edit]

London: William Hunt and Company, 1878

  • We live in an age when there is a false glare on the things of time, and a great mist over the things of eternity.
    • Ch. II: "Our Souls", p. 41
  • Do something, by God's help, to make heaven more full and hell more empty.
    • Ch. II: "Our Souls", p. 62
  • Let your Christianity be so unmistakeable, your eye so single, your heart so whole, your walk so straightforward, that all who see you may have no doubt whose you are and whom you serve.
    • Ch. V: "Alive or Dead", p. 145
  • Where no visible fruit can be found, there you may be sure is no conversion.
    • Ch. XII: "Conversion", p. 335

Practical Religion (1878)[edit]

London: William Hunt and Company, 1878

  • The ancient Christians made it a part of their religion to look for His return. Backward they looked to the cross and the atonement for sin, and rejoiced in Christ crucified. Upward they looked to Christ at the right hand of God, and rejoiced in Christ interceding. Forward they looked to the promised return of their Master, and rejoiced in the thought that they would see Him again. And we ought to do the same.
    • Ch. I: "Self-Inquiry", p. 19
  • There are some things of which we never know the value of till they are taken from us.
    • Ch. VI. "Going to the Table", p. 154
  • Before Christ comes, it is useless to expect to see a perfect Church.
    • Ch. XX: "The Great Separation", p. 449

The Upper Room (1888)[edit]

  • All the simplicity in the world can do no good, unless you preach the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ so fully and clearly that everybody 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.
    • Ch. III: "Simplicity in Preaching"
  • Fear puts an end to openness of manner; fear leads to concealment; fear sows the seed of much hypocrisy, and leads to many a lie.
    • Ch. XVI: "The Duties of Parents"
  • [T]he parent who tries to train without setting a good example is building with one hand and pulling down with the other.
    • Ch. XVI: "The Duties of Parents"
  • Tomorrow is the devil's day, but today is God's. Satan cares not how spiritual your intentions may be, and how holy your resolutions, if only they are fixed for tomorrow.
    • Ch. XIX: "Thoughts for Young Men"
  • Hell itself is truth known too late.
    • Ch. XIX: "Thoughts for Young Men"
  • Value all books in proportion as they are agreeable to Scripture. Those that are nearest to it are the best, and those that are farthest from it, and most contrary to it, are the worst.
    • Ch. XIX: "Thoughts for Young Men"
  • Examine your own hearts. Do you see there any habit or custom which you know is wrong in the sight of God? If you do, don't delay for a moment in attacking it. Resolve at once to lay it aside. Nothing darkens the eyes of the mind so much, and deadens the conscience so surely, as an allowed sin. It may be a little one, but it is not any less dangerous.
    • Ch. XIX: "Thoughts for Young Men"

Light from Old Times (1890)[edit]

London: Chas. J. Thynne, 1903

  • With all the stir made about education, the ignorance of our own country's history is something lamentable and appalling and depressing.
  • It has often been observed that the mothers of great men, and especially of great divines, have been remarkable for strong mind and force of intellect. Mothers have been found, as a general rule, to influence children's character far more than fathers.
  • The end to which good men's libraries finally come is a melancholy subject. Few things are so much loved by some, and despised and neglected by others, as books, and specially theological books.
    • "William Gurnall", p. 391
  • The more I study the productions of the new schools of theological teachers, the more I marvel that men and women can be satisfied with such writing. There is a vagueness, a mistiness, a shallowness, an indistinctness, a superficiality, an aimlessness, a hollowness about the literature of the Catholic or broader systems, as they are called, which, to my mind, stamps their origin on their face. They are of the earth, earthy.
    • "William Gurnall", p. 409

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