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on September 9, 2005
J. C. Ryle is quickly becoming one of my favorite Christian writers. This book is, quite simply, THE BEST single work on the Christian life I have ever read. Ryle's insight is phenomenal, his exegesis is impecable and his humility is stunning--and all of this while maintaining one of the simplest, most approachable, most readable styles of any theologian ever. I was hesitant to pick up a book written by an 18th century Anglican (particularly one I knew virtually nothing about), but my hesitance was by no means merited.

Ryle speaks to the heart and soul of every man. He wields the sword of the Spirit like a skillful surgeon, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow. He addresses hard and trying subjects which most modern evangelicals have chosen to ignore: the power and depth of indwelling sin, the necessity of a holy life, the struggle and fight of faith, counting the cost of following Christ... and that's only in the first 5 chapters! 'Holiness' is one of four volumes of what has been called Ryle's body of 'Practical Theology.' Each of these volumes is infinitely worthy in its own right, but 'Holiness' stands just a little taller than the rest. It is unique, not in its content--for Ryle's message is the message of scripture--but in its simplicity and singleness of focus.

Ryle just plain makes sense. His treatment of the texts which head the chapters is based on plain interpretation, common-sense exegesis and practical application. As he is fond of saying when interpreting plain-as-day passages which are often twisted and confounded by scholars and skeptics, 'If words have any meaning at all, then this is what the passage says.' But what is more astounding is that he does not side-step the difficult issues. Instead he takes them head on, making Christian theology and the principles of holy living seem so simple and obvious and straight-forward that I sometimes wonder what Bible I've been reading all these years to have missed so many beautiful truths. Christian, read J. C. Ryle. You will not regret it. He is a man who first and foremost loves the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the vital center of all his teaching and writing and the sole reason for his great power in ministry. Whether you are an erudite scholar or a hard-laboring farmer, a pastor or a layman, a spiritual elder or a babe in Christ--no matter where you are--Ryle's writings are for you. The love of Christ and the faith of this great 18th century saint cling to every page like an aromatic perfume.

To whet your appetite here is a quote from one of my favorite chapters, 'The Fight': 'There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday, and call themselves Christians. Their names are in the baptismal register. They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage service. They mean to be buried as Christians when they die. But you never see any "fight" about their religion! Of spiritual strife, and exertion, and conflict, and self-denial, and watching, and warring, they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man... but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is it not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and His apostles preached. It is not the religion which produces real holiness. True Christianity is "a fight"' (p. 63).
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on September 13, 2003
J. C. Ryle's classic calls Christians to the hard and happy work of growing through grit in the grace of Christ. With a double-edged sword, Ryle cuts through the errors of both perfectionism and antinomianism, legalism and license, sinless perfection and carnal Christianity. He exhorts us to run with perserverance the race set before us and fight the good fight of faith and strive to enter the kingdom, yet keeps before us the grace of God which alone enables such holy soul-effort. The book begins by examining sin, sanctification, holiness, the fight, the cost, growth, and assurance, and then goes on to explore other related themes including an excellent chapter called "A woman to be remembered" on Lot's wife and her tragic backward glance. The chapters are more expository than topical, yet full of application. Many extracts from old English Puritans are included, as well. This is a great classic that I hope gets many readings and rereadings in my generation.
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on May 10, 1999
This was one of the first books by J. C. Ryle I ever read. Ryle's introduction alone was worth the price of the book. One by one Ryle pokes holes in many of the popular evangelical presumptions of his time; presumptions that haunt the evangelical church to this very day. "Holiness" is a call to serious Biblical Christianity that avoids the traps and snares of popular evangelical cliches.
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on January 31, 2004
I highly recommend this book by JC Ryle. Ryle comes as close to finding that necessary balance of truthfulness, yet compassion of any writer I have read. His main points in this book are that you must be called by the Father, justified by the Son and sanctified by the Holy Spirit to be saved. It is a terrific biblical account of conversion. This is an account that many professing Christians would find shocking today.
Ryle says that any true Christian must hate the world, Satan and sin to be a child of God. Without this inward warfare, there is no faith. Ryle has become my favorite author. After reading Holiness, I have ordered all of his other writings. His commentaries on the gospels are superb. I recommend Knots Untied as well. He was a plain speaking man whose heart burned with a holy passion for God.
Ashley Hodge
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on January 5, 2007
Holiness, by J. C. Ryle is the best book on Christian living I have read to date. In an age of easy-believism that talks of a gospel free from a commitment to God, this book shows what it takes to have a satisfying and saving relationship with Christ in the way that the Scriptures teach. As the work of sancitification is largely ignored on the bookshelves of Christian libraries, this is a much needed addition. With the debate over Lordship salvation still running its course, this book gives a perspective from over 100 years ago that easily fits our situation today. Ryle expounds the Scriptures in such a way that you can not put this book down without heartily agreeing with Hebrews 12:14 "holiness, without which no one will see the Lord."

Ryle has been called a theological vertebrae, and rightly so. This work will leave you examining your walk with Christ with a desire to live for Him like never before.
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on September 7, 2005
This is the first book that I have read by JC Ryle and it will not be the last! Next to the Bible it is probably the most important book that I have read. Ryle takes the subject of Christian holiness and breaks it down into twenty one chapters. Each chapter delves into a particular aspect of holiness using quotes from scripture and his excellent insights into each of the aspects. He has ways of looking into the sacred scriptures that make you think and want to learn how to apply this aspect to your own life. He pulls no punches on the way we should be living out our Christian faith. Even though this book was written over a hundred years ago, all the topics are still very relevant. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is serious about growing in the holiness of God.
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on June 22, 2004
An excellent and thorough book, covering our situation before God before we were Christians, our state in Christ now we are Christians and how we should live in light of Christ's imminent return. A challenging read for us to be more concerned about our holiness, it is full of practical applications to help us in obedience to the Holy Spirit's work in us. It seems near the close of the book that he advocates works, but in the last chapter makes it clear we should look to the cross, not only for conversion but also for sanctification.
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What can I say... Thank God for the reformers, for the preachers of old like Ryle, whose Scripture-saturated thoughts, warnings and exhortations are sharp, profound, unashamed and candid. This volume starts with some definitions, and expositions of Biblical doctrines of justification and sancitification; the similarities and differences between the two, and why and how the latter is to be pursued seriously. This is a serious matter indeed because Hebrews 12:14 solemnly warns without holiness no one will see the LORD. It is then followed by expositions on several examples and warnings, like the life of Moses, Lot and his wife. I enjoy the sermon about Moses, who when he grew up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time, and regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt because he was looking ahead to his reward. It ends with some encouraging sermons; the one I like best is entitled, "Want of the times", which seems to be a stand-alone sermon but was included in the text unlike the first few chapters that sound highly convergent. Don't miss this, a must-read christian classic.
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on March 2, 2014
SHOP ELSEWHERE!!! NOTE: The original work is a 5. This publication is virtually worthless.

I wanted a copy of this book for each of the men attending my monthly Bible study. Having first read the book many years ago, I know its value. The order arrived quickly, 2 days before I needed it. The next day, the day before I was to distribute them, I opened the box.

MODERNIZED ENGLISH (at least in parts, e.g. "Lovest Thou Me" is now "Do You Love Me")
NO FOOTNOTES!!!! - some of the best observations in the entire book are in the footnotes

Not having enough time to get another publisher's copy, I handed them out and shared with my men my disappointment at what I had to give them.

I will never buy from "First Rate Publishers" again!

And who is the ugly picture on the very first page? I have never seen a picture of Ryle with ONLY a moustache.

Bruce D. Walker
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on May 18, 2007
This book is very detailed and covers the subject very well. It is not written in the easy to read style of modern books and demands concentration. Ryle backs up his thoughts with plenty of references to scripture. His thoughts would be in line with the Puritans. The book is both challenging and encouraging.
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