Ryle believed that pastors must take time to sit at the firesides in the homes of the people, hear their thoughts, and speak faithfully about the things of God. He believed that a man who only speaks of Christ from behind a pulpit should not be surprised at having small usefulness. Real love for people will take a preacher into their homes, and will affect the way those same people hear him in public.
Ryle said that the objective of the Christian historian is “to see and trace the goodness of God taking care of His church in every age by His providence.”
Ryle’s ministry exposed deeply the error of many Anglicans and the official position of Roman Catholicism of what happened to infants when they are baptized by the priest– “Before administering baptism to children, the priest shall say . . . . Almighty and immortal God, we call upon thee for these infants, that they, coming to thy holy baptism, may receive the remission of their sins by spiritual regeneration.” In conclusion, the congregation is assured that the prayer has been answered, “It hath pleased Thee to regenerate this infant.” (Edwardian Prayer Book, revised 1559 and 1662). The Catholic Catechism of 1559 asserts, “It is certain by God’s word, that children, being baptized, have all things necessary for their salvation, and will be undoubtedly saved.” In answer to the first questions in that catechism, “What is your name?” and “Who gave you this name?”, the answer is, “My Godfathers and Godmothers in my baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.” These words all convey one impression: the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration takes place at the child’s baptism. – Iain Murray
Spurgeon on J. C. Ryle — In writing a review on Ryle’s book, Practical Religion, the Baptist preacher wrote–“Little more needs to be said of this volume, than that it sustains the author’s well-earned reputation for evangelical simplicity and power. With all her faults, he loves the Church of England still, but he loves the souls of men much more, and most of all, he love the gospel of their salvation. This is a gospel to be loved. Men’s ideas of the wrath to come may be judged by the earnestness with which they exhort others to flee from it.
Ryle- How many go to church merely as a formal practice. How few are really in earnest about the salvation of their souls! Go to the most godly and orderly parish in our land at this moment. Ask any well-informed child of God living there how many true Christians it contains, and what is the proportion of the converted to the unconverted. Mark well the answer he gives. I doubt if you will find a parish in Great Britain where even one third of the people are converted. [Today in Britain and America it’s much, much lower.]
– Iain Murray and Mack Tomlinson