The Bishop and the Bookshop

Last week, I met a bishop in a Christian bookshop. ‘Maybe not that surprising, so what?’ I hear you mutter. Yes, but this bishop was dead. He died in 1900 aged 84. Although not present in the flesh, I was confronted by his words of wisdom, which were ‘calligraph-ied’ on the wall of the entrance of shop in Leyland, Lancs.

John Charles Ryle, was born into a wealthy family on 10 May 1816, going on to attend Eton College and up to Oxford University. Later his family suffered great financial loss. ‘J.C.’, by the age of 21 had neither read his Bible nor been familiar with prayer; yet went on to believe in the living Christ, in definite doctrine and in a message which does not adjust to the times. In short, ‘bold as a lion for the truth of God’s word and His gospel’. Later, he became Bishop of Liverpool.  I gather, he never desired to have the cathedral built, preferring rather to invest in men and mission hall ministry whilst within the confines of the Church of England.

I was most fortunate to become acquainted with the aforesaid deceased bishop in my teenage years through literature. After my conversion to Christ, those who discipled me, kindly advised me to not only to read a portion of the Bible every day, but also to enjoy and learn from sound Christian literature of all genres. I needed no further persuasion. As the first two books of my burgeoning library, I eagerly devoured the two-volume, missionary biography of Hudson Taylor, and ‘Holiness’ by J.C. Ryle. Of late, I have completed J.C.s' volume of Daily Readings from the Four Gospels. I commend both of his books, which are available online at  

‘One thief on the cross was saved, that none should despair, and only one, that none should presume.’