Jokingly my wife has said to me that the two greatest influences in her life have been a Baptist (Spurgeon) and a Prelate (Ryle). They are both fantastic preachers despite their views on church government, the millennium, and baptism.
I too love Ryle and Spurgeon. May it be duly noted for the sake of my ecumenical spirit.
The latter end of the nineteenth century was a time when preaching was still fantastic in England, but Confessionalism was not. Below is a quote from Ryle on the exalted state of preaching. Any comments?
"A preaching ministry is absolutely essential to the health and prosperity of a visible church. The pulpit is the place where the chief victories of the Gospel have always been won, and no Church has ever done much for the advancement of true religion in which the pulpit has been neglected. Would we know whether a minister is a truly apostolical man? If he is, he will give the best of his attention to his sermons. The minister who exalts the sacraments, or forms of the church, above preaching, may be a zealous earnest, conscientious, and respectable minister, but his zeal is not according to knowledge."