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J. C. Ryle
"First Bishop of Liverpool"
Thoroughly evangelical in his doctrine and uncompromising in his principles, J.C. Ryle was a prolific writer, vigorous preacher, and faithful pastor.
He was born at Macclesfield and educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.
He was a fine athlete who rowed and played Cricket for Oxford, where he took a first class degree in Modern Greats and was offered a college fellowship (teaching position) which he declined. The son of a wealthy banker, he was destined for a career in politics before answering a call to ordained ministry.
He was spiritually awakened in 1838 while hearing Ephesians 2 read in church. He was ordained by Bishop Sumner at Winchester in 1842. For 38 years he was a parish vicar, first at Helmingham and later at Stradbrooke, in Suffolk. He became a leader of the evangelical party in the Church of England and was noted for his doctrinal essays and polemical writings.
In 1880, at age 64, he became the first bishop of Liverpool, at the recommendation of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. He retired in 1900 at age 83 and died later the same year.
In his diocese, he exercised a vigorous and straightforward preaching ministry, and was a faithful pastor to his clergy, exercising particular care over ordination retreats. He formed a clergy pension fund for his diocese and built over forty churches. Despite criticism, he put raising clergy salaries ahead of building a cathedral for his new diocese.
Ryle combined his commanding presence and vigorous advocacy of his principles with graciousness and warmth in his personal relations. Vast numbers of working men and women attended his special preaching meetings, and many were led to faith in Christ.
READING THE BIBLE
J. C. Ryle
1. READ THE BIBLE WITH AN EARNEST DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND IT.
Do not be content to just read the words of Scripture. Seek to grasp the message they contain.
2. READ THE SCRIPTURES WITH A SIMPLE, CHILDLIKE FAITH AND HUMILITY.
Believe what God reveals. Reason must bow to God's revelation.
3. READ THE WORD WITH A SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE AND SELF-APPLICATION.
Apply what God says to yourself and obey His will in all things.
4. READ THE HOLY SCRIPTURES EVERY DAY.
We quickly lose the nourishment and strength of yesterday's bread. We must feed our souls daily upon the manna God has given us.
5. READ THE WHOLE BIBLE AND READ IT IN AN ORDERLY WAY.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable." I know of no better way to read the Bible than to start at the beginning and read straight through to the end, a portion every day, comparing Scripture with Scripture.
6. READ THE WORD OF GOD FAIRLY AND HONESTLY.
As a general rule, any passage of Scripture means what it appears to mean. interpret every passage in this simple manner, in its context.
7. 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.
by J. C. Ryle
Greatness and riches are a perilous possession for the soul. Those who seek to have them know not what they seek. They lead men into many temptations. They are likely to fill the heart with pride, and to chain the affections down to things below. "Not many mighty, not many noble are called." "How hardly shall they that have riches enter intothe kingdom of God" (I Cor. 1:26; Mk. 10:23).
Do we envy the rich and the great? Does our heart sometimes say, "oh, that I had their place, and rank, and substance?" Let us beware of giving way to such feelings. The very wealth which we admire may be gradually sinking its possessors down into hell. A little more money might be our ruin. Like Herod, we might run into every excess of wickedness and cruelty. "Take heed, and beware of covetousness. "Be content with such things as ye have" (Lk. 12:15; Heb. 13:5).
We are most of us far too ready to "seek great things" in this world: let us "seek them not" (Jer. 45:5). To have a place and a title and a position in society is not nearly so important as people think. It is a great sin to be covetous and worldly and proud: but it is no sin to be poor. It matters not so much what money we have, and where we live, as what we are in the sight of God. Where are we going when we die? Shall we live forever in heaven? These are the main things to which we should attend.
J. C. Ryle
"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
There are few texts better known than that which heads this page. Its words are probably familiar to our ears. We have very likely heard them, or read them, or quoted them, a hundred times. But have we ever considered what a vast amount of divinity this text contains? No wonder that Luther called it "the Bible in miniature!"-And have we ever considered the word which forms the turning-point of the text, and the immensely solemn question which arises out of it? The word I refer to is "believeth." The Lord Jesus says, "Whosoever believeth shall not perish." Now, DO WE BELIEVE?
Questions about religion are seldom popular. They frighten people. They oblige them to look within, and to think. The insolvent tradesman does not like his books to be searched. The faithless steward does not like his accounts to be examined. And the unconverted Christian does not like to be asked home-questions about his soul.
But questions about religion are very useful. The Lord Jesus Christ asked many questions during His ministry on earth. The servant of Christ ought not to be ashamed to do likewise. Questions about things necessary to salvation,-questions which probe the conscience, and bring men face to face with God,-such questions often bring life and health to souls. I know few questions more important than the one which arises out of this text:-DO WE BELIEVE?
The question before us is no easy one to answer. It will not do to thrust it aside by the off-hand answer, "Of course I believe." True belief is no such "matter of course" as many suppose. Myriads of Protestants and Roman Catholics are constantly saying on Sundays, " I believe" who know nothing whatever of believing. They cannot explain what they mean. They neither know what, nor, in whom, they believe. They can give no account of their faith. A belief of this kind is utterly useless. It can never satisfy, nor sanctify, nor save.