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Holiness (Abridged): Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots (Moody Classics)

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The twenty papers contained in this volume are a humble contribution to a cause which is exciting much interest in the present day,--I mean the cause of Scriptural holiness* It is a cause which everyone who loves Christ, and desires to advance His kingdom in the world, should endeavour to help forward. Everyone can do something, and I wish to add my mite. The reader will f The twenty papers contained in this volume are a humble contribution to a cause which is exciting much interest in the present day,--I mean the cause of Scriptural holiness* It is a cause which everyone who loves Christ, and desires to advance His kingdom in the world, should endeavour to help forward. Everyone can do something, and I wish to add my mite. The reader will find little that is directly controversial in these papers. I have carefully abstained from naming modern teachers and modern books. I have been content to give the result of my own study of the Bible, my own private meditations, my own prayers for light, and my own reading of old divines. If in anything I am still in error, I hope I shall be shown it before I leave the world. We all see in part, and have a treasure in earthen vessels. I trust I am willing to learn.


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The twenty papers contained in this volume are a humble contribution to a cause which is exciting much interest in the present day,--I mean the cause of Scriptural holiness* It is a cause which everyone who loves Christ, and desires to advance His kingdom in the world, should endeavour to help forward. Everyone can do something, and I wish to add my mite. The reader will f The twenty papers contained in this volume are a humble contribution to a cause which is exciting much interest in the present day,--I mean the cause of Scriptural holiness* It is a cause which everyone who loves Christ, and desires to advance His kingdom in the world, should endeavour to help forward. Everyone can do something, and I wish to add my mite. The reader will find little that is directly controversial in these papers. I have carefully abstained from naming modern teachers and modern books. I have been content to give the result of my own study of the Bible, my own private meditations, my own prayers for light, and my own reading of old divines. If in anything I am still in error, I hope I shall be shown it before I leave the world. We all see in part, and have a treasure in earthen vessels. I trust I am willing to learn.

30 review for Holiness (Abridged): Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots (Moody Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    I thought it was about time I read this classic. It is practical and helpful. Recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    A remarkable number of books that promote 'formulas' for living the Christian life have had their day on the Christian bestseller lists, only to fade away as time goes on. Yet J.C. Ryle's Holiness, which was first published 126 years ago, shows no signs of going out of style. What could possibly account for the longevity of a volume that Reformation & Revival Journal once called "the finest work on living the Christian life available"? I offer three reasons: 1) It gives no formulas. Bishop Ryle, A remarkable number of books that promote 'formulas' for living the Christian life have had their day on the Christian bestseller lists, only to fade away as time goes on. Yet J.C. Ryle's Holiness, which was first published 126 years ago, shows no signs of going out of style. What could possibly account for the longevity of a volume that Reformation & Revival Journal once called "the finest work on living the Christian life available"? I offer three reasons: 1) It gives no formulas. Bishop Ryle, an evangelical Anglican minister from the mid-to-late 1800s, magnified the grace of God in Christ and spoke often of the joy, peace and assurance available to all who trust in the Son of God. And yet, as Holiness demonstrates, he had no illusions that the Christian life would be a walk in the park. Beginning immediately at Chapter One, where Ryle explains the terrible subtlety of sin and its power to trip up believers even though they are free from its domination, he takes nothing for granted. He dismantles many false ideas about Christian growth that damaged the lives of Christians of his time. Some believers (including this one) who read Holiness today will notice that many of these ideas are still around, and have messed them up at certain points of their lives. 2) It is remarkably accessible and easy to read, considering its age. Sometimes I see Ryle's books published in modern paraphrased versions, and I am at a loss to know why! Ryle's style is described by many as "plain and pointed", without any of the formalities that characterize 19th Century English (compare and his contrast his works with those of his great Baptist contemporary, Charles Spurgeon). 3) It is thoroughly biblical. If aspiring preachers and teachers want a great model whom they can follow of someone who effortlessly brought the whole counsel of Scripture to bear upon the subject being discussed, Ryle is their man!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Ryle's work is a classic Reformed defense of the pursuit of sanctification as an active enterprise against various late 19th century denigrations of that understanding. He is, in a way, a Puritan out of place in history (and easier to read than John Owen). In Holiness, Ryle stands against extremes among the Reformed and Lutheran that claim sanctification is all about faith, but also against the holiness movements of his day, arising in part out of a misdirection of Wesley's understanding of imm Ryle's work is a classic Reformed defense of the pursuit of sanctification as an active enterprise against various late 19th century denigrations of that understanding. He is, in a way, a Puritan out of place in history (and easier to read than John Owen). In Holiness, Ryle stands against extremes among the Reformed and Lutheran that claim sanctification is all about faith, but also against the holiness movements of his day, arising in part out of a misdirection of Wesley's understanding of immediate sanctification. He begins noting the difference between justification and sanctification: "In justification the word to be addressed to man is believe - only believe; in sanctification the word must be 'watch, pray, and fight.' What God has divided let us not mingle and confuse." At the same time each are integral to a complete understanding of the salvation won in Jesus Christ. The book is a collection of addresses, not a completely systematic understanding, but his first three chapters (on sin, sanctification, and holiness) come close to that kind of completeness. His words are challenging and demand doctrinal understanding, deep personal awareness, and an application of doctrine to life. "Sanctification is that inward spiritual work which the Lord Jesus Christ works in a man by the Holy Ghost , when He calls him to be a true believer. He not only washes him from his sins in His own blood, but He also separates him from his natural love of sin and the world, puts a new principle in his heart, and makes him practically godly in life." My criticism is two-fold (aside from the too constant Reformed denial of the possibility of holiness in this lifetime). Like the Puritans before him, Ryle makes holiness a mental experience, often ignoring the fact that we are embodied beings and might need direction in the physical realm. He also makes it too individual an experience, ignoring the communal call to holiness and the role of the church in achieving Christian maturity. As a spur to holiness this is a wonderful book, but it requires a "style of life" lived out in the physical world and amid Christ's body here on earth.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy Ivey

    WOW!!! This book was written in the late 1800s, but it reads like it was written today!! Each chapter is a separate paper written by J.C. Ryle, some were sermons, all focused on SCRIPTURAL holiness. Ryle's discussions are beautifully simple and completely scripturally founded. He begins with chapters on sin, sanctification, holiness, then continues on to offer biblical examples of his points. His chapter on Moses clearly represents Moses as a type of Christ: Moses left the rank and greatness and WOW!!! This book was written in the late 1800s, but it reads like it was written today!! Each chapter is a separate paper written by J.C. Ryle, some were sermons, all focused on SCRIPTURAL holiness. Ryle's discussions are beautifully simple and completely scripturally founded. He begins with chapters on sin, sanctification, holiness, then continues on to offer biblical examples of his points. His chapter on Moses clearly represents Moses as a type of Christ: Moses left the rank and greatness and riches of Pharaoh's court to come down to the enslaved and persecuted children of Israel to choose suffering and affliction to deliver them. Sound familiar?? Moses' life is an illustration, a shadow of what Jesus Christ has done for us. Christ left the majesty of heaven to come down to a people enslaved and afflicted by sin to suffer for our deliverance. Christ is truly found on every page of the Bible, God's story of the redemption of His people. Ryle says, " You must learn to believe promises better than possessions; things unseen better than things seen; things in heaven out of sight better than things on earth before your eyes; the praise of the invisible God better than the praise of visible man. then, and then only, you will make a choice like Moses, and prefer God to the world." The last chapter is entitled, "Christ is all," because this is the ultimate goal of our pursuit of holiness: to be like Christ. We will never achieve this perfectly in this world, but we are to strive toward this goal. "Let us all learn and strive to do so more and more. Let us live ON Christ. Let us live IN Christ. Let us live WITH Christ. Let us live TO Christ. So doing, we shall prove that we fully realize that "Christ is all." So doing, we shall feel great peace, and attain more of that "holiness without which no man shall see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14) This book is definitely one of my favorite books of all times, and I would highly recommend it to everyone, not only Christians, but anyone who wants to know what is at the heart of Christianity: CHRIST.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ethan Smith

    Thank the Lord for the wonderful man J. C. Ryle is. It just got better and better every chapter, with the pinnacle being the last three chapters... This book is a BANGER. ALL CAPS!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tom Sussex

    This book will change your outlook on what it means to live a life worthy of the Gospel. Despite writing in 1877, Ryle speaks so clearly to the reader, and so insightfully into a society that has surprisingly changed very little.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Suzannah

    Review available on Vintage Novels. Review available on Vintage Novels.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Schultz

    First read (2013): loved Second read (2019): still loved

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter Jones

    An excellent book on a much neglected topic in our day. The first few chapters are particularly helpful. At times his too repetitive and could hurt tender consciences if he is read wrongly. But overall a great book on how to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. Highly recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    This was a very interesting and life-giving read, but also challenging and convicting. It is incredibly accessible and easy to read. The book is comprised of distinct papers that are all related to the topic of holiness but do not necessarily follow one after the other, save the first three chapters. The first three chapters set up the main thesis of the entire work and essentially establishes why a person should care about holiness. I would summarize his main points like this: sanctification an This was a very interesting and life-giving read, but also challenging and convicting. It is incredibly accessible and easy to read. The book is comprised of distinct papers that are all related to the topic of holiness but do not necessarily follow one after the other, save the first three chapters. The first three chapters set up the main thesis of the entire work and essentially establishes why a person should care about holiness. I would summarize his main points like this: sanctification and justification are never separate, though they ought to be distinguished. While both are works of God bought by the blood of Jesus, sanctification really does require serious work, prayer, and watchfulness on our part. What follows is chapter after chapter of biblical exposition and practical application. Ryle's expositions are deep and insightful, and he is incredibly skilled at mining the texts of scripture for rich truths. What I love about Ryle, though, is that he seldom does this in a way that makes him seem "too smart," as if what he is doing with the Word isn't something I or any other person couldn't do ourselves. He simply presents it in such a way that stirs your heart to humility and worship. He is an experienced teacher of the law and preacher of the gospel, and this is seen on every page. At the heart of all his writings is an emphasis on and exaltation of the person of Jesus Christ, as if constantly beckoning his readers to "come, see a man." The book is also immensely practical. I laughed at one point when Ryle wrote, "the best way to do something is to do it." But this light-hearted statement is indicative of how simple and direct he is in encouraging his readers in their pursuit of holiness. One of his favorite phrases, I noticed, was "there are no gains without pains." I appreciated how every chapter ended with points of application and piercing questions to equip his readers with wisdom and motivation to apply the biblical principles which preceded. His use of the second person and the prescient insightfulness of his questions made a book written in 1877 feel strangely personal. Ryle's pastoral instinct was often felt in his precision and intentional use of language when addressing certain people. His words were careful and tender so as not to wound the faith of a weak or despairing reader, but were plainly spoken and sharp when addressing the proud or backsliding. This is a book I would love to return to. I recommend it to new believers and mature Christians alike.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ben Hartman

    A great read. It took me a long time, but I finally finished it. Holiness constantly looks Christward, exhorting Christians in the living of a holy life. One of the most often quoted texts was Hebrews 12:14 "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." This seems to be a somewhat forgotten verse in our day. May we strive daily for greater holiness and conformity to Christ and His Word.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Trzeciak

    “It is impossible that ever you should be happy, except you are holy” (395). Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool in the 1800s, was writing against revivalism, the effort to get crowds worked up in Christian emotionalism that had little to no lasting change or effect once the crowd was dispersed. Ryle’’s desire was to show that true Christianity and genuine holiness was expressed and advanced through the day to day activity of walking with Christ through the highs and lows of life. A common theme throughou “It is impossible that ever you should be happy, except you are holy” (395). Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool in the 1800s, was writing against revivalism, the effort to get crowds worked up in Christian emotionalism that had little to no lasting change or effect once the crowd was dispersed. Ryle’’s desire was to show that true Christianity and genuine holiness was expressed and advanced through the day to day activity of walking with Christ through the highs and lows of life. A common theme throughout the book is that if you have no desire for holiness on earth, then you will be most miserable in heaven, doubting that if you have no desire for holiness that you would even go to heaven. It has been said that this is a book that all Christians should read once every year, and I plan on reading this book many more times as long as God has me on this earth.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Luke Jaggers

    Awesome book to finish the year on. Recommend to everyone. Written 150 years ago with prowess and truthfulness, and still relevant in these times. At our very best we are far worse than we ought to be. Having sinned against a perfectly just God, there is only one way to salvation, reconciliation, sanctification and life. That way is Jesus, who was pierced for our transgressions. Christ is all. In Him are unsearchable riches.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Luke McEwen

    The best Christian book I’ve ever read. 20 chapters, 20 different topics, 20 incredibly deep, thoughtful and scripturally based chapters that drew me closer to the Lord Jesus. Take your time reading this book to glean the riches that JC Ryle has placed into each chapter. 10/10 would recommend.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    An absolutely essential read for all believers! Ryle’s stance on the importance of doctrine and insistence on a Biblical, Christ-centered Christianity are much needed in our culture of feelings and self-focused spirituality devoid of Biblical support that likes to call itself Christian.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I cannot express how much I appreciate JC Ryle. His books are never easy to read and even though it takes me a while to get through his books, his writing never ceases to encourage me, rebuke me, make me love God deeper. This book is such a gem! I still have so much to process over. He writes to encourage us to strive for perfection, to seek holiness as God is holy. But knowing we are sinners, we will wrestle with the flesh, however we will forever have the Gospel as our assurance. Ryle saturate I cannot express how much I appreciate JC Ryle. His books are never easy to read and even though it takes me a while to get through his books, his writing never ceases to encourage me, rebuke me, make me love God deeper. This book is such a gem! I still have so much to process over. He writes to encourage us to strive for perfection, to seek holiness as God is holy. But knowing we are sinners, we will wrestle with the flesh, however we will forever have the Gospel as our assurance. Ryle saturates his writing with Scripture and though some views can seem controversial, he backs with his reading of Scripture. His books are always game changers in my walk!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Griep

    For being a Victorian era book, this is surprisingly very readable and accessible to the contemporary palate. Holiness is a conglomeration of thoughts on what it is and how to attain it. As with most non-fiction books, here are some of my favorite quotes: "Arise and come to Christ just as you are. He waits for you, and is as willing to save as He is mighty." "Death works no change. The grave makes no alteration. Each will rise again with the same character in which he breathed his last." "And no ma For being a Victorian era book, this is surprisingly very readable and accessible to the contemporary palate. Holiness is a conglomeration of thoughts on what it is and how to attain it. As with most non-fiction books, here are some of my favorite quotes: "Arise and come to Christ just as you are. He waits for you, and is as willing to save as He is mighty." "Death works no change. The grave makes no alteration. Each will rise again with the same character in which he breathed his last." "And no man can grow in holiness except he abides in Christ." "Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption." "Look less at yourself and more at Christ." "We must come in the name of Jesus--standing on no other ground--pleading no other plea than this, 'Christ died on the cross for the ungodly, and I trust in Him. Christ died for me, and I believe on Him.'"

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    This review so far refers only to chapter VII "Assurance" (pp. 143-181): Another reading with me doing plenty of underlining throughout. One line of truth even had me updating my Facebook profile quotations since I resonated with it so much. Reading this chapter wasn't all roses for me, however. I felt that I didn't share the experience he described as so common among Christian believers (a lack of "assurance") but by the end of the chapter I was chalking it up to cultural differences and semanti This review so far refers only to chapter VII "Assurance" (pp. 143-181): Another reading with me doing plenty of underlining throughout. One line of truth even had me updating my Facebook profile quotations since I resonated with it so much. Reading this chapter wasn't all roses for me, however. I felt that I didn't share the experience he described as so common among Christian believers (a lack of "assurance") but by the end of the chapter I was chalking it up to cultural differences and semantics. I appreciated that he centered his talk on so many Biblical examples, especially using the experience of Paul, my favorite apostle, and he was exceedingly sensitive to the nuances required and difficulties presented when attempting to clarify elements of Christian experience (i.e. no one can speak for another's heart). Though "assurance" was the topic, he completed the chapter with timeless nuggets of advice for the Christian journeyer, no matter what his or her experience of assurance may be: - "Seek durable riches,--a treasure that cannot be taken from you,--a city which hath lasting foundations. ... Come away from a world which will never really satisfy you" (p. 178) and - "Stick not at the foundations of religion: go on to perfection. Be not content with a day of small things. Never despise it in others, but never be content with it yourself." (p. 179) These are serious writings for serious times. I'll look forward to encouragement from this work and others like it as I continue my own life journey.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sushant

    Excellent, Excellent book! I believe that a lack of passion for personal holiness is probably one of the saddest aspects of 21st century Christianity. In our effort to move away from legalism, we have given way to lechery, and we have emphasized God's love and forgiveness so much that most of us have no clue what the verse "Strive...for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14) means. This book helps you understand what that verse means biblically. A generation that is Excellent, Excellent book! I believe that a lack of passion for personal holiness is probably one of the saddest aspects of 21st century Christianity. In our effort to move away from legalism, we have given way to lechery, and we have emphasized God's love and forgiveness so much that most of us have no clue what the verse "Strive...for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14) means. This book helps you understand what that verse means biblically. A generation that is not passionate for holiness is a generation that has deceived itself. This book by Bishop Ryle helped me to wake up to my plight, and the plight of my generation. Oh read this book! Read and earnestly take to heart the exhortations of this book. Your time will not have been wasted. Please read this book! I plan on reading it again myself.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This has been a book that I have slowly read for the past 2 years. It's not a fast read by any means, but the writing is mostly clear. Some parts I connected with better than others. It was originally written as a series of papers, so it felt like 20 separate thoughts on holiness. However, this is a book that deserves to be read by every Christian today.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    In the providence of God, it has taken me 10 years to read Holiness. The Lord saw fit why it would take me this long. This is the classic on sanctification and the Christian life. There are many other books that are helpful, but Ryle is in a class of his own. You must read it- read it slowly and savor it- and be changed as he points you to Christ. "Christ is all."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christian Barrett

    This is my second time reading this amazing book, and it truly one of my favorites. Ryle cuts the heart as he challenges his readers to be holy. This challenge ultimately comes from a place of loving Jesus Christ more. This book was written nearly 200 years ago and still holds water today. I can’t encourage Christians enough to read this book, and I seek to read it almost every year.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    A 400+ page classic we have read aloud at least three times. These sermons will stir you, convict you, assure you. Ryle's plain prose is always Scriptural and straight from the heart. Hard to pick a favorite, but it's hard to top the last chapter, "Christ is All." Simple yet deep.

  24. 5 out of 5

    benebean

    I really love the discussion over how much of the confusion regarding the pursuit of holiness is really confusion over participation in sanctification vs. justification.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I love the way Ryle teaches. I learned so much.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Ryle’s style is a shade pompous for my taste, but he does pack a lot of richness in these pages. Here are a few quotes that leapt out at me. A religion which costs nothing is worth nothing. I wish to be as broad as the Bible, neither less nor more. On sin: Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the errors, heresies, and false doctrines of the present day. The more real grace men have in their hearts, the deeper is their sense of sin. On death & resurrection: Nothing, I am convinc Ryle’s style is a shade pompous for my taste, but he does pack a lot of richness in these pages. Here are a few quotes that leapt out at me. A religion which costs nothing is worth nothing. I wish to be as broad as the Bible, neither less nor more. On sin: Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the errors, heresies, and false doctrines of the present day. The more real grace men have in their hearts, the deeper is their sense of sin. On death & resurrection: Nothing, I am convinced, will astonish us so much, when we awake in the resurrection day, as the view we shall have of sin, and the retrospect we shall take of our own countless shortcomings and defects. Most men hope to go to heaven when they die; but few, it may be feared, take the trouble to consider whether they would enjoy heaven if they got there. Heaven is essentially a holy place; its inhabitants are all holy; its occupations are all holy. To be really happy in heaven, it is clear and plain that we must be somewhat trained and made ready for heaven while we are on earth. Death works no change. The grave makes no alteration. Each will rise again with the same character in which he breathed his last. Where will our place be if we are strangers to holiness now? Nothing, surely, is so likely to prepare us for that heaven where Christ’s personal presence will be all, and that glory where we shall meet Christ face to face, as to realize communion with Christ, as an actual living person here on earth. There is all the difference in the world between an idea and a person. Of all the things that will surprise us in the resurrection morning, this I believe will surprise us most: that we did not love Christ more before we died.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This was one of my unofficial 2019 goals that has been met. In the classic book "Celebration of Discipline" - the chapter on reading challenges us to read books that are not of our century, which means no cheating and claiming 20th century books are not of our century for me at least as I was born in 1972. This classic was written way back, when followers of Islam were referred to as Turks. The updated text makes for a clear read. Whilst I was expecting some heavy duty puritan exegesis which did f This was one of my unofficial 2019 goals that has been met. In the classic book "Celebration of Discipline" - the chapter on reading challenges us to read books that are not of our century, which means no cheating and claiming 20th century books are not of our century for me at least as I was born in 1972. This classic was written way back, when followers of Islam were referred to as Turks. The updated text makes for a clear read. Whilst I was expecting some heavy duty puritan exegesis which did form a large part of the book, the insights were beautiful especially concerning Luke 23. and the two thieves on the cross.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: The classic collection by nineteenth century evangelical Anglican J.C. Ryle emphasizing that growth in Christ-like character (holiness) involves not only faith in Christ's empowering work but effort in laying hold of that work and that this basic matter is far too often neglected in the church. J. C. Ryle was an Anglican rector, and eventually bishop of the then-new Diocese of Liverpool. He lived from 1816-1900. Much of his work was among working class people, and it is evident in readin Summary: The classic collection by nineteenth century evangelical Anglican J.C. Ryle emphasizing that growth in Christ-like character (holiness) involves not only faith in Christ's empowering work but effort in laying hold of that work and that this basic matter is far too often neglected in the church. J. C. Ryle was an Anglican rector, and eventually bishop of the then-new Diocese of Liverpool. He lived from 1816-1900. Much of his work was among working class people, and it is evident in reading this collection of sermons why he was so popular. Unlike others who cultivated a dense eloquence, Ryle spoke plainly and clearly outlined his points such that anyone giving him their attention could follow. Even his titles were straightforward, the longest of which is only five words ("A Woman to be Remembered", on Lot's wife!). Ryle's main concern was for the decline in practical holiness in his day. Against the Keswick movement and others who took a type of "let go and let God" approach, Ryle argued that holy character was something assiduously fought for (one of the sermons in this collection is titled "The Fight!"), and that while faith in Christ's working in one's life was necessary, so also was effort and exertion. The title sermon of this collection, "Holiness", begins with an exposition of the nature of true holiness in one's life, why such holiness ought to be pursued, and finally how such holiness may be attained, through striving and through dependence upon Christ. In the concluding section he writes: That great divine, John Owen, the Dean of Christ Church, used to say, more than two hundred years ago, that there were people whose whole religion seemed to consist in going about complaining and telling everyone that they could do nothing of themselves. I am afraid that after two centuries, the same thing might be said with truth of some of Christ's professing people in this day. I know there are texts in scripture which warrant such complaints. I do not object to them, when they come from men who walk in the steps of the apostle Paul and fight a good fight, as he did, against sin, the devil and the world. But I never like such complaints when I see ground for suspecting, as I often do -- that they are only a cloak to cover spiritual laziness, and an excuse for spiritual sloth. If we say with Paul, "O wretched man that I am!" let us also be able to say with him, "I press toward the mark!" The collection begins with a sermon on the nature of sin ("Sin") and is followed by one on "Sanctification", including the diligent use of means, and then the title sermon of "Holiness". He then follows up on the theme of the struggle in the Christian life with chapters on "The Fight" and "The Cost". He writes of the marks of "Growth in Grace" being a deepening sense of sin coupled with stronger faith, brighter hope, and growing love and spiritual-mindedness. The sermon on "Assurance" both holds out the reality of confidence in the work of Christ, coupled with the knowledge that one may not experience this and yet belong to Christ. Then come four sermons around figures in scripture. He looks at Moses as an example of living by faith, Lot as a "beacon" warning us of the example of less than full-hearted obedience and Lot's wife as "A Woman to be Remembered" because of the privileges she enjoyed, the repudiation of it all in the backward look, and the judgment she experienced. Finally, "Christ's Greatest Trophy!" concerns the thief on the cross who believed--one of the rare instances I've come across of a sermon on this episode. The next sermons concern the Lordship of Jesus in adversity, ("Ruler of the Waves"), and over the church ("The Church Which Christ Builds" and "Visible Churches Warned"). Sermons fifteen to eighteen focus around our call to love the Lord ("Do You Love Me?"), the sobering reality of life "Without Christ", how Christ addresses our deepest thirst, and through us addresses the thirst of others ("Thirst Relieved!"). He explores the "Unsearchable Riches" of life in Christ. His concluding sermons in this collection focus first on the "Needs of the Times", including the authority of scripture, a clear grasp of Christian doctrine, a pursuit of holiness, and perseverance in private devotion. This sermon does have some sharp words against the Catholicism of his day. The collection concludes on a high note as Ryle explores all the ways "Christ is All", a wonderful resource for nurturing one's worship! Ryle's frank and straightforward preaching is a breath of fresh air. Read Ryle if you want to learn how to preach plainly. Read him to understand how good shepherds of God's people afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Read him to examine your own life and to stir you from indifference. Read him to appreciate the marvelous riches one has in Christ. And read him for the practical help he gives in pursuing a "practical" holiness. A note on editions: All of the most inexpensive editions of Holiness are in electronic form, including that linked to in this post. As a public domain work, it may be found for free or very cheaply online in various e-formats. Amazon also sells print-on-demand editions. Crossway has a more expensive paperback that includes a biography of Ryle by J.I. Packer under the title Faithfulness and Holiness. One should check to see if the edition you are buying has all twenty sermons--some are abridged--and it is worth getting them all!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    I picked up this book with high expectations, given the raving recommendations I’d heard, and I was not disappointed. It truly is a legendary work. Ryle presents the case for holiness patiently, passionately, and persuasively. I’m most grateful for how often he directs the reader’s focus away from ourselves and our actions and onto Jesus Christ and His completed work as the fuel then for a pursuit of holiness. I recommend this to every Christian. It’s one I will be reading again in the future.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Yue

    I would recommend it to a new Christian for sure, but for anyone who has systematically studied the Bible with devotion shall find this book not particularly inspiring or insightful, but there shouldn't really be any complaints about plain and simple biblical truth written in plain and simple language. Although some parts of his personal theology are still debatable, this collection of 20 essays are indeed a spiritually wholesome daily reminder of how to profess holiness with one's all might.

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