I have had a deep conviction for many years that practical holiness and entire self-consecration to God are not sufficiently attended to by modern Christians in this country. Politics, or controversy, or party-spirit, or worldliness, have eat out the heart of lively piety in too many of us. The subject of personal godliness has fallen sadly into the background. The standard of living has become painfully low in many quarters. The immense importance of ‘adorning the doctrine of god our Saviour’ (Titus 2:10), and making it lovely and beautiful by our daily habits and tempers, has been far too much overlooked . . . .
It is, however, of great importance that the whole subject should be placed on right foundations, and that the movement about it should not be damaged by crude, disproportioned, and one-sided statements. if such statements abound, we must not be surprised. Satan knows well the power of true holiness, and the immense injury which increased attention to it will do to his kingdom. It is his interest, therefore, to promote strife and controversy about this part of God’s truth. Just as in time past he has succeeded in mystifying and confusing men’s minds about justification, so he is labouring in the present day to make men ‘darken counsel by words without knowledge’ about sanctification. May the Lord rebuke him!
J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, n.d.), vii-viii.