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Travel with Bishop J C Ryle

By Alan Munden
February 2013


During his thirty-six years as a country clergyman in Suffolk, J C Ryle wrote about 200 tracts, historical biographies and biblical commentaries. By these publications his name became well-known outside his rural parishes and at the same time he was an established preacher and popular speaker at national meetings and conferences. In 1880 he became the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool and served in that capacity for the next twenty years. Today much that ‘Bishop Ryle' wrote is still published and many of his tracts and publications are available on the numerous ‘Ryle' Internet sites. Like each of the books in this unique series, Travel with Bishop J C Ryle is both carefully researched and a valuable travel guide. With over 150 colour photographs and drawings, it will guide the traveller to many of the key locations associated with an evangelist whose parish was literally the world.

  • Publisher: Day One Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1-84625-327-0
  • Pages: 128
  • Price: 10.00
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Book Review

This is a most worthy addition to the admirable series of travel guides published by Day One. The author Alan Munden, an Anglican minister, has packed an amazing amount of detailed information into such a small book.
The size of the print may give older readers some eye strain, but that is inevitable in a book of this size containing so much. Consistent with the intention of this series, there are clear maps to help the traveller visit places ranging from the south coast, north to Macclesfield and Liverpool, eastward to rural Suffolk, and many points between.
For those who have long valued the writings of J. C. Ryle it will be a fascinating journey. Ryle was a prolific writer of tracts, some of which were later developed into books.
His writing is clear, incisive, easily followed. He was a true evangelical, deeply concerned for the conversion of sinners by preaching the great truths of divine sovereign grace. He faced inevitable opposition from within his own Anglican Communion, but maintained his consistent stand for the Word of God, the Lord’s Day and the Protestant faith.
There is here a wealth of history regarding Ryle’s family and connections, which at times becomes rather too detailed. But the record of this godly evangelical preacher, writer and bishop leaves the reader with an increasing feeling of wonder at the extent of his reading, writing and ministry through a life of many sorrows.
Ryle experienced the loss of three wives and, at one time, cared for a family of three young boys. Of this he said, ‘As to holidays, rest and relaxation in the year, I never had any at all, when the whole business of entertaining and amusing three little boys in an evening devolved entirely upon me, both in body and mind, and I often wonder how I lived through it’.
After serving churches in Farnham, Winchester, Helmingham and Stradbroke, he was suddenly appointed first Bishop of Liverpool in 1880. There he faced an enormous task in developing a new diocese. Ill health forced his retirement in March 1900, followed by his death in June that year.
If this travel guide encourages the reading of Ryle’s Expository thoughts on the Gospels, Practical religion and Old paths and other writings of the same calibre, you will be well rewarded — and be content to leave some of his Knots untied still in a tangle!
P. M. Rowell

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