Last time we took a brief look at Ryle’s analysis of the problem. Today we’re going to enjoy his description of how God turned things around.
What makes Ryle’s commentary so appealing is the fact that we can apply the same lessons to ourselves and trust God for major breakthrough in our various cities and nations.
1. Everyone was aware of a major change
Says Ryle: ‘That a great change for the better has come over England in the last hundred years is a fact which I suppose no well informed person would ever attempt to deny. You might as well attempt to deny that there was a Protestant Reformation in the days of Luther…’ (p.21)
2. Where the change didn’t come from
Not the Government: ‘The government of the country can lay no claim to the credit of the change.’
Not the Church of England: ‘Nor…from the Church of England as a body. The leaders of that venerable communion were utterly unequal to the times. Left to herself, the Church of England would probably have died of dignity…’
Not the ‘Free’ churches: ‘Nor…from the Dissenters. Content with their hard-won triumphs, that worthy body of men seemed to rest upon their oars.’ (p.22)
3. The change came through Evangelists
‘The men who wrought deliverance for us…were a few individuals…whose hearts God touched about the same time in various parts of the country.
‘They were not wealthy or highly connected. They were simply men whom God stirred up and brought out to do His work.
‘They did His work in the old apostolic way, by becoming the evangelists of their day.’(p.22)
4. The demeanour of these Evangelists
Ryle writes, ‘They taught one set of truths. They taught them in the same way, with fire, reality, earnestness, as men fully convinced of what they taught.
‘They taught them in the same spirit, always loving, compassionate…even weeping, but always bold, unflinching and not fearing the face of man.
‘And they taught them on the same plan, always acting on the aggressive; not waiting for sinners to come to them, but going after, and seeking sinners; not sitting idle till sinners offered to repent, but assaulting the high places of ungodliness like men storming a breach…
‘The movement of these gallant evangelists shook England from one end to another.’ (p.23)
We’ll continue with Ryle’s observations next time…
All quotes from Christian Leaders Of The 18th Century by J. C. Ryle, Banner of Truth edition.
You can Purchase Ryle’s excellent book from the Banner of Truth website
To read the first post in this series go here
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