J.C. Ryle Book Review
J.C. Ryle lived in a time of great revival in English churches, (1816-1900), but he was too zealous for the well-being of his neighbor to rest easy. In eloquent yet plain language Ryle moves me with his sincere love for God and man. A high Victorian with sober morals and devout manner, he reached out to people from all walks of life, from blue collar workers and farmers to wealthy bankers, from whose ranks his family was drawn. If you are a Christian seeking useful exhortation listen to Ryle. If you are unsure of the case for Christ, or just want to know what a real Christian is like, listen to Ryle.
Here is an excerpt from Ryle’s Practical Religion which is now available on sermonaudio.com as a free audio book.
“To be really happy a man must be able to look on every side without uncomfortable feelings. He must be able to look back to the past without guilty fears. He must be able to look around him without discontent. He must be able to look forward without anxious dread. He must be able to sit down and think calmly about things past, present, and to come, and feel prepared. The man who has a weak side in his condition, a side that he does not like looking at or considering – that man is not really happy.”
“Talk not to me of your happiness if you are unable to look steadily either before or behind you. Your present position may be easy and pleasant. You may find many sources of joy and gladness in your profession, your dwelling place, your family, and your friends. Your health may be good. Your spirits may be cheerful. But stop and think quietly over your past life. Can you reflect calmly on all the commissions and omissions of bygone years? How will they bear God’s inspection? How will you answer for them at the last day? And then look forward and think on the years yet to come. Think on the certain ends to which you are hastening. Think of death. Think of judgment. Think of the hour when you will meet God face to face.”
“Are you ready for it? Are you prepared? Can you look forward to these things without alarm? Oh, be very sure if you cannot look comfortably at any season but the present your boast of happiness is a poor unreal thing. It is but a whitened sepulchre, fair and beautiful without, but bones and corruption within. It is a mere thing of a day like Jonah’s gourd. It is not real happiness…”
“To be truly happy your joy then must be founded on something more than this world can give you. To be truly happy you must be able to look on every side: above, below, behind, before, and feel that all is right. This is real stirring, genuine happiness.”
Sermonaudio.com has thousands of free sermons, mostly contemporary. Two of Ryle’s books, “Practical Religion” and “Holiness” can be heard at that site here. Having listened to Practical Religion I recommend it ardently and am confident it can help many people. It starts on page 5 of Ryle’s listings while his book “Holiness” starts on page 6.
If anyone has any other recommendations for sermons to be heard online please share with us in comments. Thanks and be blessed.