Ryle's Grave

Yesterday morning at 6.15am, I took the omnibus to Preston, and from thence to Liverpool, all for four pounds. As well as wishing to see again the north’s most beautiful city (contradict me if you dare), I had a list of sites to visit. My final stop was at the resting place of John and Henrietta Ryle at Childwall. The light was beginning to fade as I arrived, and I had grave reservations about patrolling a cemetery at night. I was not troubled by the prospect of the Ryles or their neighbours rising up to haunt me, but the uneven ground and a couple of young men enjoying all the benefits of marijuana by the church porch. I phoned my friend Vinny Commons who is familiar with these parts, who gave useful direction. The gravestones were located, read and photographed before I took my leave and caught the bus back to Liverpool centre at which my boarding house was located.

John Ryle was the first Bishop of Liverpool who died in 1900, being born the year of our chapel’s founding. There are few Anglican prelates whose grave I would bother to visit, but ‘J.C.’ was as fine a man of God as any generation might hope to see. Of course, he would not approve of someone making pilgrimage to his resting place, but his memorial stone records more gospel truth than the average contemporary sermon. In life Ryle wrote:

“Death is a solemn event for everyone. It is the winding up of all earthly plans & expectations. It is a separation from all we have loved and lived with. It is often accompanied by much bodily pain and distress. It opens the door to judgement and eternity - to heaven or to hell. It is an event after which there is no change, or space for repentance.”

He was an uncompromising, faithful and diligent Valiant-for-Truth. My regret is that God could not have spared him another hundred years.

“According to the men of the world, few are going to hell; according to the Bible, few are going to heaven”. -JCR