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Ancient Paths – Negotiating Life Wisely Review by Erica Beyea

J.C. Ryle
Lamplighter Publishing
(570) 585-1314
25 State St.
Mount Morris, NY 14510

The mission of Lamplighter Publishing is to take rare, out-of-print books from long ago and bring them back into circulation for the edifying of Christians today. Ancient Paths is one such project. Originally authored in 1853 by J.C. Ryle, this 125-page devotional is directed specifically toward young men. The author, himself a young man when he penned these words, speaks as a friend, encouraging the reader to seriously consider the path of his life and walk in the right way. Beautifully bound in a pocket-sized hardcover format, the paper is new, but the original writings remain the same.

Throughout the twelve chapters of this book, each devoted to a distinct thought, J.C. Ryle earnestly pleads with the reader to wholeheartedly live a life that is pleasing to God. He lays the groundwork in the beginning, encouraging the reader to think and be sober. He discusses the reality of sin and its effects on a young life, and the pathway to overcome and live victoriously. Even a young reader who doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ personally, yet is earnestly seeking the truth, can be helped through a chapter that defines salvation.

Though the words in this book are strong, they are also kind and compassionate. The truth is spoken in love, in a challenging and inspiring way. Even though this book is targeted to young men, I believe the words and thoughts are applicable to young ladies as well. For a young person who is seeking to know God and live with integrity, this book would be a wonderful encouragement. It would make a fine devotional. The beautiful binding and presentation would make it an excellent choice for a graduation or birthday gift for a special young person.

Though I am a parent, and no longer in the target audience of this book, I found the writing encouraging in my own life as I strive to live “soberly and righteously in this present world.” This book makes good sense, is easy to read and understand, and is both uplifting and convicting. My teenage children are enjoying it and have found the words challenging to their personal walk with God. Reading it as a family has provided wonderful discussion opportunities. I highly recommend this book for any Christian young person, and I am thankful to Lamplighter for bringing these older books back into circulation to benefit our young people today!

Ancient Paths is currently available on the Lamplighter Publishing website for $15.

-Product review by Erica Beyea, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2017