Phil Cox


(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)

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Book review - Holiness by J. C. Ryle

ISBN 0-85234-136-9

In August this year, I fulfilled a long-standing ambition to play golf at Prestwick (it's a vary famous and historic golf course). When my friend and I arrived, the starter told us that we would be joined by a third player. This third golfer turned out to be an American gentleman in his seventies, and a very nice bloke. We enjoyed the game (none of us playing all that brilliantly) and, on the 17th hole, the American gentleman asked me what I did for a living. When I told him, he said that he was a Christian and we had the sort of wonderful conversation that can only occur between two Christian people meeting for the first time.

In the course of this conversation, he asked me if I had read much of the writings of J. C. Ryle. Well, I had read bits and pieces of his on the internet but I had never read one of his books. My new-found brother in Christ recommended Ryle's book "Holiness", saying that it took him 6 months to read it because every paragraph was packed with so much goodness that he had to keep putting the book down to think through what he had just read.

When I got home, I ordered the book. My American brother was absolutely right! It'sa wonderful book. And it's done me a great deal of good. And I unreservedly recommend it to anyone who wants to know God and honour God better.

J. C. Ryle lived from 1816 to 1900 and was appointed the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool in 1880. "Holiness" was first published in 1879 but it's as fresh and as relevant now as it ever was.

And I'm very grateful to God for sending this dear, gentle, godly man 4000 miles to tell me about this wonderful book. Was he an angel? In the Biblical sense that "angel" means "messenger" - yes he definitely was.

And, in the unlikely event that your reading this, my brother in Christ, thank you so much for introducing me to a genuinely life-changing book.