J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)




John Charles Ryle was known as a thoroughly evangelical and uncompromising pastor and writer. The son of a wealthy banker, he shunned a calling to politics to become a pastor. He was spiritually awakened in 1938 while listening to the reading of Ephesians 2. He served various parishes, and served as Bishop, for 61 years. During this time he built 40 churches, became known for his essays on doctrine and became leader of the evangelical party of the Church of England. He retired at the age of 83 and died a year later. He wrote many many wonderful books. His book on Holiness is one of the best ever written on the subject.

Resources on Path2prayer.com

Attaining Holiness

"There is not a brick nor a stone laid in the work of our sanctification till we go to Christ. Holiness is His special gift to His believing people. Holiness is the work He carries on in their hearts, by the Spirit whom He puts within them. He is appointed a “Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance” as well as remission of sins.—”To as many as receive Him, He gives power to become sons of God.” (Acts v. 31; John i. 12, 13.) Holiness comes not of blood—parents cannot give it to their children: nor yet of the will of the flesh—man cannot produce it in himself: nor yet of the will of man—ministers cannot give it you by baptism. Holiness comes from Christ. It is the result of vital union with Him, It is the fruit of being a living branch of the True Vine. Go then to Christ and say, “Lord, not only save me from the guilt of sin, but send the Spirit, whom Thou didst promise, and save me from its power. Make me holy. Teach me to do Thy will.”

J. C. Ryle:
Attaining Holiness


Bible Study

Ryle wrote some interesting things on Bible study which are worth considering.

"Read the Bible with CHRIST constantly in view. The whole Book is about Him. Look for Him on every page. He is there. If you fail to see Him there, you need to read that page again."

J. C. Ryle: Bible Study


Christ Is All

"Christ is the mainspring both of doctrinal and practical Christianity. A right knowledge of Christ is essential to a right knowledge of sanctification as well as justification. He that follows after holiness will make no progress unless he gives to Christ His rightful place.... Alas, there are many of the Lord’s people who live far below their privileges! There are many truly Christian souls who rob themselves of their own peace and forsake their own mercies. There are many who insensibly join their own faith, or the work of the Spirit in their own hearts, to Christ, and so miss the fullness of Gospel peace. There are many who make little progress in their pursuit of holiness, and shine with a very dim light. And why is all this? Simply because in nineteen cases out of twenty men do not make Christ all in all."

J. C. Ryle: Christ Is All



"Reader, this great High Priest is the person whom you and I ought specially to employ in our confession of sin. It is only through Him and by Him that we should make all our approaches to God. In Him we may draw near to God with boldness, and have access with confidence (Ephes. iii. 12). Laying our hand on Him and His atonement, we may come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need " (Heb. iv. 16). We need no other mediator or priest. We can find no better High Priest. To whom should the sick man disclose his ailment, but the physician? To whom should the prisoner tell his story, but to his legal advocate? To whom should the sinner open his heart and confess his sins, but to Christ?"

J. C. Ryle: Do You Confess


Duties of Parents

"If, then, you would deal wisely with your child, you must not leave him to the guidance of his own will. Think for him, judge for him, act for him, just as you would for one weak and blind; but for pity's sake, give him not up to his own wayward tastes and inclinations. It must not be his likings and wishes that are consulted. He knows not yet what is good for his mind and soul, any more than what is good for his body. You do not let him decide what he shall eat, and what he shall drink, and how he shall be clothed. Be consistent, and deal with his mind in like manner. Train him in the way that is scriptural and right, and not in the way that he fancies."

J. C. Ryle: Duties of Parents



This is an essay that he wrote on the danger of external oriented relgion.

"This is a very delicate subject, and I would be sorry to be misunderstood, or to give pain to anyone in handling it. But I am obliged to say plainly, that I fail to see that all the external improvement of the last forty years, is accompanied by any corresponding growth of practical holiness! There is no decrease in the total idolatry of recreations, or the extravagant expenditure of money, or self-indulgence of all kinds. On the contrary, there is far less repentance, faith, holiness, Bible-reading, and family religion! If this state of things is not a most unhealthy symptom in the condition of a Church, I know not what is! We may depend upon it, that knowledge of Christ, obedience to Christ, and the fruits of the Spirit are the only tests by which God weighs and measures any Church. If these are absent, He cares nothing for beautiful buildings, fine singing, and a pompous ceremonial. These are ‘leaves,’ and He desires to see not leaves only, but ‘fruit’. The tree of the Church ... perhaps never had so many leaves on it, as it has just now. I wish there was a corresponding quantity of fruit!"

J. C. Ryle: Externalism



"Yes, reader: though a man’s faith be no bigger than a grain of mustard seed, if it only brings him to Christ, and enables him to touch the hem of His garment, he shall be saved, - saved as surely as the oldest saint in paradise; saved as completely and eternally as Peter, or John, or Paul. There are degrees in our sanctification. In our justification there are none. What is written, is written, and shall never fail: “Whosoever believeth on Him,” - not whosoever has a strong and mighty faith, - “Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.” (Rom. x. 11.) But all this time, I would have you take notice, the poor soul may have no full assurance of his pardon and acceptance with God. He may be troubled with fear upon fear, and doubt upon doubt. He may have many a question, and many an anxiety, - many a struggle, and many a misgiving, - clouds and darkness, - storm and tempest to the very end. I will engage, I repeat, that bare simple faith in Christ shall save a man, though he may never attain to assurance; but I will not engage it shall bring him to heaven with strong and abounding consolations. I will engage it shall land him safe in harbour; but I will not engage he shall enter that harbour in full sail, confident and rejoicing. I shall not be surprised if he reaches his desired haven weather-beaten and tempest-tossed, scarcely realizing his own safety, till he opens his eyes in glory."

J. C. Ryle, Holiness: Introduction

J. C. Ryle, Holiness Chapter 1: Sin    Online

J. C. Ryle, Holiness Chapter 2: Sanctification

J. C. Ryle, Holiness Chapter 3: Holiness

J. C. Ryle, Holiness Chapter 4: Fight

J. C. Ryle, Holiness Chapter 5: Cost

J. C. Ryle, Holiness Chapter 6: Growth    Online

J. C. Ryle, Holiness Chapter 7: Assurance    Online

J. C. Ryle, Holiness Chapter 8: Moses An Example    Online

J. C. Ryle, Holiness Chapter 12: Ruler of the Waves    Online

J. C. Ryle, Holiness Chapter 17: Thirst Relieved


Simplicity in Preaching

This is a wonderful sermon on the need for communicating simply. This should be "must reading" reading for all pastors.

"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!"

J. C. Ryle: Simplicity in Preaching