R C Ryle has been described as one of the greatest of the Victorian evangelicals. His successor at Liverpool, England, was F.J.Chevasse. He described Ryle as “that man of granite, with the heart of a child. Charles Spurgeon, described him as “the best man in the Church of England.” Another writer described him as a “theological vertebrate” who never suffered what Ryle called “boneless, nerveless, jellyfish condition of soul.” I found his book, Practical Religion, filled with solid spiritual food, the kind you have to chew on for awhile but when digested leaves a sweetness in the soul. I hope you are blessed by the following quotes from this challenging book.     


How can a man be thought to love God who reads about Him and His Christ, as a mere matter of duty, content and satisfied if he has  just moved his mark onward over so many chapters? /13

Do not suppose that it needs great scarlet sin to bring you to the pit of destruction. You have only to sit still and do nothing, and you will find yourself there at last. Yes! Satan does not ask you to walk in the steps of Cain, and Pharaoh, and Ahab, and Belshazzar, and Judas Iscariot. There is another road to hell quite as sure, -the road of spiritual indolence, spiritual laziness, and spiritual sloth. /35

It is not enough that it is in your head. You know the truth, and assent to the truth, and believe the truth, and yet be wrong in God’s sight. It is not enough that it is on your lips. You may repeat the creed daily. You may say “Amen to public prayers in church, and yet have nothing more than an outward religion. It is not enough that it is in your feelings. You may weep under preaching one day, and be lifted to the third heaven by joyous excitement another day, and yet be dead to God. Your religion, if it is real, and given by the Holy Ghost, must be in your heart. It must occupy the citadel. It must hold the reins. It must sway the affections. It must lead the will. It must direct the tastes. It must influence the choices and decisions. It must fill the deep set, lowest, inmost seat of your soul. Is this your religion? If not, you may doubt whether it is “real” and true. /56


Prayer is the most important subject in practical religion. All other subjects are second to it.

And how can we know God without prayer? We know nothing of men and women in this world, unless we speak to them. We cannot know God in Christ, unless we speak to Him in prayer. If we wish to be with him in heaven, we must be his friends on earth. If we wish to be his friends on earth we must pray. /65

From the moment there is life and reality about their religion they pray. Just as the first sign in an infant when born into the world, is the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again, is praying. /65

A man may preach from false motives. A man may write books, and yet be a Judas Iscariot. But a man seldom goes into his closet, and pours out his soul before God in secret, unless he is earnest. The Lord Himself has set his stamp on prayer as the best proof of a conversion. /65

The first act of faith will be to speak to God. Faith is to the soul what life is to the body. Prayer is to faith what breath is to life. How can a man live and not breathe is past my comprehension, and how a man can believe and not pray is past my comprehension. /68

Praying and sinning will never live together in the same heart. Prayer will consume sin, or sin will choke prayer. /71

Those who pray: They not only do well, but they are unwearied in well-doing [Titus 2:14; Gal. 6:9] They attempt great things, and they do great things. When they fail they try again, and when they fall they are soon up again. And all the time they think themselves poor unprofitable servants, and fancy they do nothing at all! These are those who make religion lovely and beautiful in the eyes of all. /76

Bibles read without prayer, sermons heard without prayer, marriages contracted without prayer, journeys undertaken without prayer, residences chosen without prayer, friendships formed without prayer, the daily act of prayer itself hurried over or gone through without heart- those are the downward steps by which many a Christian descends to a condition of spiritual palsy, or reaches the point where God allows him to have a tremendous fall. /79

We may be sure that man falls in private long before they fall in public. They are backsliders on their knees long before they backslide openly in the eyes of the world. Like Peter, they first disregard the Lord’s warning to watch and pray; and then, like Peter, their strength is gone, and in the hour of temptation they deny their Lord. /79

By reading that book we may learn what to believe, what to be, and what to do; how to live with comfort, and how to die in peace. Happy is the man who possesses a Bible. Happier still is he who reads it. Happiest of all is he who not only reads it, but obeys it, and makes it the rule of his faith and practice. /97


Blessed be God, there is one thing in the Bible which the most prejudiced reader can hardly fail to understand, and that is the character of Jesus Christ. /103

How precious are the promises which the Bible contains for the use of those who love God! There is hardly any possible emergency or condition for which it has not some “word in season.” And it tells men that God loves to be put in remembrance of these promises, and that if He has said He will do a thing, His promise shall certainly be performed. /104

“Give me a candle and a Bible, and shut me up in a dark dungeon, and I will tell you all that the whole world is doing.” /105

And how did he arm them for this battle? He gave them no carnal weapons. He gave them no worldly power to compel assent, and no worldly riches to bribe belief. He simply put the Holy Ghost into their hearts, and the Scriptures in their hands. He simply bade them to expound and explain, to enforce and publish the doctrines of the Bible. The preacher of the first century was not a man with a sword and an army, to frighten people, like Mahomet, -or a man with a license to be sensual, to allure people, like the priests of the shameful idols of Hindustan. No! He was nothing more than one holy man and one holy book. /106

And ought we not then to expect to find deep things when we begin studying the Word of God, and yet to believe that if we persevere in reading it the meaning of many of them will one day be made clear. /114

Many a broken cistern will be exposed to shame in the day of judgment; but there will not be one soul who will be able to say, that he went thirsting to the Bible, and found in it no living water,- he searched for truth in the Scriptures, and searching did not find it. /116

He knows how artfully Satan can gild error with an appearance of truth, and can dress up wrong with plausible arguments, till it looks like right. Knowing all this, He has mercifully provided us with an unerring standard of truth and error, right and wrong, and has taken care to make that standard a written book, -even the Scripture. /116-117

I would to God they would learn to weigh sermons, books, opinion, and ministers, in the scales of the Bible, and to value all according to their conformity to the Word. I would to God they would see that it matters little who says a thing,- whether they be Father or Reformer, -Bishop or Archbishop, -Priest or Deacon, _Archdeacon or Dean. The only question is,-is the thing said Scriptural?  /118

I charge them, above all things, never to suppose that any true minister of the Gospel will dislike his people measuring all the teachings by the Bible. On the contrary, the more they read the Bible, and prove all he says by the Bible, the better he will be pleased. /118

A true minister will say, “Search the Scriptures, and if I do not teach you what is Scriptural, do not believe me.” A false minister may cry, “Hear the Church,” and “Hear me.” A true minister will say, “Hear the Word of God.” /118-119

There never was a man or woman truly converted, form one end of the world to the other, who did not love the revealed will of God. Just as a child born into the world desires naturally the milk provided for its nourishment, so does a soul “born again” desire the sincere milk of the Word. This is a common mark of all the children of God- they “delight in the law of the Lord.” Ps. 1:2

Jesus and the Word: He read it publicly. He quoted it continually. He expounded it frequently.  He advises the Jews to “search” it. He used it as His weapon to resist the devil. He said repeatedly, “The Scriptures must be fulfilled- Almost the last thing he did was to “open the understanding of His disciples, that they might understand the Scriptures.” I am afraid that a man can be no true servant of Christ, who has not something of his master’s mind and feeling towards the Bible. /122

A religion of feeling is an uncertain thing. It is like a tide, sometimes high, and sometimes low. It is like the moon, sometimes bright and sometimes dim. A religion of deep Bible knowledge is a firm and lasting possession. It enables a man not merely to say, “I feel hope in Christ,” but “I know whom I have believed.” [2 Timothy 1:12]

The moment we open the Bible the devil sits down by our side. Oh, read it with a hungry spirit, and a simple desire for edification.  /138

It is a good thing to take with us two or three texts when we go out into the world, and to turn them over and over in our minds whenever we have a leisure. It keeps out the vain thoughts. It clenches the nail of daily reading. It preserves our souls from stagnating and breeding corrupt things. It sanctifies and quickens our memories and prevents them from becoming like ponds where the frogs live but the fish die. /138