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J.C. Ryle (1815-1900).  Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was one of the first in modern times to rediscover the writings of Bishop J.C. Ryle, whose name had been all but forgotten by the 1930’s, but whose writings at one time were sold by the millions all around the world.  Lloyd-Jones said that he just happened to "stumble across" Ryle's Holiness in the 1930's in a second-hand bookshop. "I shall never forget the satisfaction – spiritual and mental – with which I read it."  His works have been characterized as “a distillation of true Puritan theology presented in a highly readable and modern form."  As a minister, he is considered one of the greatest of the Victorian evangelicals, and man whom  Charles Spurgeon described as "the best man in the Church of England."  He was converted at Oxford in 1837, so thoroughly that it was to have a profound effect on his later ministry, as he related nearly 40 years later:  “Nothing I can remember to this day appeared to me so clear and distinct as my own sinfulness, Christ's preciousness, the value of the Bible, the absolute necessity of coming out of the world, the need of being born again and the enormous folly of the whole doctrine of baptismal regeneration....People may account for such a change as they like; my own belief is that … it was what the Bible calls "conversion" or "regeneration" ... and nothing to my mind can account for it, but the free sovereign grace of God."  In his ministry, he relentlessly called for the reformation of the Church of England, both its clergy and laity, and especially focused on those whose lives did not match their professions.  It is said he "… aimed at four things: the evangelising of English people; the purging of the English national Church; the uniting of English Christians; and the holiness of English believers."

by J.C. Ryle

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