Few martyr’s words are as stirring as those of Bishop Hugh Latimer’s to Dr. Nicholas Ridley: “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”
Why were such men burned at the stake? What were the great convictions in which they lived and for which they were prepared to sacrifice life itself? What made their lives and testimony to Christ’s gospel so powerful? Do Christians today share either their convictions or their faithfulness? It remains true as ever that godly martyrs, though dead, still speak to the church.
This led J.C. Ryle to pen these pungent biographies of Five English Reformers last century. Along with an analysis of the reasons for their martyrdom, Ryle points out the salient characteristics of their Christian lives. Such men still prove to be examples, warnings and challenges all in one, to Christians today. Readers will rise from reading their life-stories, to prayer for a similar faith in Christ’s power.