JC Ryle remains one of the greatest of the nineteenth century expositors and this volume, easily consumed, and, digested with prayer, will become a cherished part of one’s discipleship and biographical library. If one treats Christian biography as discipleship tools, then “That Man of Granite” ought to be the front of tool rack. The book, written by one who clearly knows the story well, tracks his life from cradle to grave. Some of the most interesting parts have to do with how God used his father’s business failures to guide him towards the ministry. Yet, the privilege and training, much like St. Paul’s, was not wasted, but employed by the Master for His own uses. This man was an educated man in an educated class. Yet he could move easily with the down and out. Also, death and doubt in his own immediate family bring more pathos and draws the reader deeper to this man of granite with the heart of a child. And by then it is time to sleep, and to dream of the Christ who works all things together.
When I am in East Anglia this spring, preaching at the International Congress on Preaching, I plan, Lord willing, to visit some of the places where he ministered. And I plan to read more of Ryle. I sense the power of the Holy Spirit on his writing.