What a joy this is to read! It is an edited series of what were originally tracts. It is easy to understand, well written and sound in its doctrine of salvation. The book opens with a chapter on sin, explaining why and how we are all sinners. Readers are exhorted to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith.
The pamphlets that make up this book were written for the many who, in Ryle’s day, attended church merely as a duty or ceremonial nod towards God. The subjects covered are sin, salvation, conversion, justification and the Holy Spirit.
Each chapter has something important for us today. Ministers will gain gospel insight for preaching, while lay Christians will gain better understanding of what it is to be a believer and the importance of each concept discussed.
I also recommend it to serious seekers, as it explains the difference between being ‘religious’ and being ‘saved’, majestically hammering home each point. It is above criticism in terms of the standard of the writing and doctrine.
The only issues I had was, first, that it was clearly written in a bygone age. Some of the examples given for worldliness are set among the horse and carriage, the card school and theatre. And second, it highlights agreement with other denominations regarding the sole sufficiency of Christ’s blood for redemption, even though, nowadays, some of these denominations no longer hold to this foundation.
That said, every chapter contains blessing and encouragement, especially the chapter on the necessity of the Holy Spirit in conversion and the Christian life. I would heartily recommend this book to Christians of all levels of knowledge and maturity.