J.C. Ryle was a prolific writer, vigorous preacher, faithful pastor, husband of three wives, [widowed three times: Matilda died in 1847, Jessie died in 1860, Henrietta died in 1889] and the father to five children [one with Matilta and four with Jessie]. He was thoroughly evangelical in his doctrine and uncompromising in his Biblical principles.
In 1880, after 38 years in Pastoral ministry in rural England, at age 64, he became the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool. He retired in 1900 at age 83 and died later the same year at the age of 84.
Below are a few links which provide more background on Ryle:
“From his conversion [in 1837] to his burial [in 1900], J.C. Ryle was entirely one-dimensional. He was a one-book man; he was steeped in Scripture; he bled the Bible. As only Ryle could say, ‘It is still the first book which fits the child’s mind when he begins to learn religion, and the last to which the old man clings as he leaves the world.’
“This is WHY his works have lasted—and will last—they bear the stamp of eternity. Today, more than a hundred years after his passing, Ryle’s works stand at the crossroads between the historic faith and modern evangelicalism. Like signposts, they direct us to the ‘old paths.’ And, like signposts, they are meant to be read.”
“He [J.C. Ryle] was great through the abounding grace of God. He was great in stature; great in mental power; great in spirituality; great as a preacher and expositor of God’s most holy Word; great in hospitality; great as a writer of Gospel tracts; great as a Bishop of the Reformed Evangelical Protestant Church in England, of which he was a noble defender; great as first Bishop of Liverpool. I am bold to say, that perhaps few men in the nineteenth century did as much for God, for truth, and for righteousness, among the English speaking race, and in the world, as our late Bishop.”
~ Rev. Richard Hobson, three days after Ryle’s burial in 1900.