Murray, Iain H. J. C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone. Banner of Truth, 2016.
Iain Murray writes history like J. C. Ryle wrote history. He writes with the desire to edify God’s people. He makes use of church history to instruct in doctrine and to exhort to holy living. This does not mean Murray writes hagiography, overlooking faults or trimming the truth. But it does mean he writes history that is not the bare recitation of facts and context. Murray, like Ryle, seeks to draw out the significance of events.
One example. Ryle tells the sad story of how J. C. Ryle’s son Herbert left the faith his father defended. In their lifetimes Herbert gained the greater scholarly acclaim. “Yet,” Murray observes, “a century is a small time in the history of the kingdom of God. It takes the long term to judge what is of enduring value. Herbert Ryle’s last book, a Commentary on the Minor Prophets, on which he spent many years, was never published. It found no publisher; the ‘latest scholarship’ was already out of date by the time of his death in 1925. His father as a teacher rested on a different authority and, as one who delighted in the law of the Lord, he inherited the promise, ‘He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither’ (Psa. 1:3)” (196).