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- Submitted: Aug 08 2011 09:30 PM
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- Author: John C. Ryle
- e-Sword Version: 9.x - 10.x
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e-Sword 9+ Module Download:
John Ryle Collection (21 files) 1.0
John C. Ryle
9.x - 10.x
John Charles Ryle (1816–1900), Anglican bishop, was born on 10 May 1816. He was educated at Eton and then Oxford, being Fell Exhibitioner at Christ Church in 1834 and Craven scholar in 1836. He graduated in 1838, achieving his MA in 1871 and being created DD, by diploma, in 1880.
Ryle’s family, since his great-grandmother’s conversion by John Wesley during a visit to Macclesfield, had been committed Wesleyan Methodists, who supported and funded several chapels in Macclesfield. In 1837 Ryle experienced his own conversion. First, Algernon Coote, a friend from Eton, urged him to ‘think, repent and pray’; then he heard the epistle one Sunday afternoon in church: ‘By grace are ye saved (pause) through faith (pause) and that not of yourselves (pause) it is the gift of God.’ The succession of phrases brought full conviction to Ryle. ‘Nothing,’ he said, ‘to this day appeared to me so clear and distinct as my own sinfulness, Christ’s presence, the value of the Bible, the absolute necessity of coming out of the world, and the need of being born again, and the enormous folly of the whole doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration.’ Having earlier studied the Thirty-Nine Articles at Eton (in a failed attempt to pass the Duke of Newcastle’s scholarship), and the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Bible, the Prayer Book and church history for his finals at Christ Church, Ryle was ordained into the Church of England by Charles Sumner on 12 December 1841, though he had been raised as a Methodist and had intended to pursue a career in politics.
Ryle became curate of Exbury, Hampshire (1841–1842). He was required to provide not only pastoral care, but also medical advice to his flock. Despite his less than complimentary opinion of his congregation of mostly agricultural workers, that they were ‘a rich, dull, stupid set of people’, he soon filled the chapel.
Ryle moved on to St Thomas, Winchester (1843–1844). He summed up the spiritual condition of Winchester thus: ‘The whole place is in a very dead state ... worldliness reigned supreme in the close.’ Ryle clearly regarded this lack of commitment as a challenge. He had soon filled the church, necessitating its rebuilding, instituted mid-week Bible lectures at the infant schools, and became superintendent of the district visitors’ society. Such was his popularity that he was offered a £300 increase in stipend in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent his moving to Helmingham. There he came into contact with a number of prominent evangelicals, including Archbishop John Bird Sumner, Admiral Harcourt and Admiral Hope.
Having formerly used other people’s tracts, at Helmingham Ryle began to write his own, his first publication being ‘I have somewhat to say unto thee’, the first sermon he preached there. It was distributed free of charge throughout the parish. During his lifetime he published hundreds of tracts and over thirty books.
Ryle next moved to Stradbroke (1861–1880), where he successfully undertook a major restoration of the church. Part of the work included a new pulpit, which bore the inscription ‘Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel’; Ryle personally supervised the carving and afterwards underscored the word ‘not’. By the time he left the parish he was able to provide a seat in church for everyone and a place for every child in his school. In 1870 he became rural dean of Hoxne, and in 1872 honorary canon at Norwich.
In March 1880 Ryle accepted the offer of the deanery of Salisbury; he felt that by doing so he would be able to further the evangelical cause. However, before he could take up this post he was appointed to the new diocese of Liverpool in rather unusual circumstances. The general election of 1880 saw the defeat of Disraeli by Gladstone. Liverpool’s MP, Lord Sandon, informed Disraeli that his constituents wanted their bishop to be chosen by the Queen’s current advisors rather than those appointed by Gladstone. According to Sandon, they had requested Ryle by name. His acceptance was required almost instantly as the old government would be replaced within a week. Apparently unwilling to accept no for an answer, Sandon secured Ryle’s acceptance despite his age and relative poverty.
Liverpool had a multinational population of 1,100,000 and was a center for commerce. Poverty and living conditions were appalling. Ryle’s first Diocesan Charge urged his clergy to work effectively; they were the visible church, working among the people. Less formal, more effective contact with the churches was achieved through parish visits and the Annual Diocesan Conference, to which every ordained cleric, and two lay people from each parish, were invited.
Preaching, whether from the pulpit or through tracts, was John Ryle’s forte: ‘You preach the 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 be and do, your preaching is no use.’ Many of his tracts are still in print, in updated language; they still convey a powerful message, in a simple style.
This resource includes the following topical files:
Ryle, John C. - Tracts of J.C. Ryle (1816-1900).topx
Ryle, John C. - A Call to Prayer.topx
Ryle, John C. - Are You Born Again.topx
Ryle, John C. - Free Salvation.topx
Ryle, John C. - Holiness - Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots.topx
Ryle, John C. - Justification and Sanctification.topx
Ryle, John C. - Sermon on Hell.topx
Ryle, John C. - Sermons on Heaven.topx
Ryle, John C. - Sermons on Holiness.topx
Ryle, John C. - Sickness.topx
Ryle, John C. - The Cross - A Call to the Fundamentals of Religion.topx
Ryle, John C. - The Danger of Christian Complacency.topx
Ryle, John C. - The Duties of Parents.topx
Ryle, John C. - The Gospel of John.topx
Ryle, John C. - The Gospel of Luke.topx
Ryle, John C. - The Gospel of Mark.topx
Ryle, John C. - The Gospel of Matthew.topx
Ryle, John C. - The Lord's Supper.topx
Ryle, John C. - The Nature of Sanctification.topx
Ryle, John C. - There are Many Ways to Hell.topx
Ryle, John C. - Thoughts for Young Men.topx
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