I just finished reading Holiness (Abridged) by J.C. Ryle. I am quite sure this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and I know I’ll read it again. I found it very thought-provoking, very biblically based and sound, Christ-exalting, saturated with the gospel, and deeply encouraging. I don’t think I can recommend it highly enough. It is seldom that I find a book I can recommend without qualification or hesitation, but this is definitely one such book.
I started putting slips of paper to mark quotes I wanted to pull out and there were just so many. I also find it hard to pull out short quotes because you miss the context and full argument he’s making when I do, but I’ll give you a few that I found interesting, just to give you an idea why I like this book so much. The first quote really made me think, and he spends a lot of the book kind of developing the why of it. I especially loved the final chapter of the book, “Christ is All.” Like I said, I found it deeply encouraging, and thought I’d share a recommendation here.
“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.”
“May we never think that we can love Christ too well, live to Him too thoroughly, confess Him too boldly, lay ourselves out for Him too heartily! 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.”
“Christ’s sacrifice and death for sinners, and Christ’s kingdom and future glory, are the light we must bring to bear on any book of Scripture we read. Christ’s cross and Christ’s crown are the clue we must hold fast if we would find our way through Scripture’s difficulties. Christ is the only key that will unlock many of the dark places of the Word. Some people complain that they do not understand the Bible. And the reason is very simple. They do not use the key. To them the Bible is like the hieroglyphics in Egypt. It is a mystery, just because they do not know and employ the key.”