John Ride was born in April 1790 at Turnditch, Derbyshire. He agreed with others to go and hear Primitive Methodist William Clowes preach, but he went with the intention of interrupting, not to listen to the message. He was the leader of the group, and took a seat in front of Clowes. But when Clowes announced his text, he felt its power. After Clowes’s second visit, in January 1811, John Ride went alone to a field, knelt in the snow, and turned his life over to Christ.
He became a local preacher, but, working on a farm, was threatened by his landlord with eviction if he continued his Methodist activities. He emigrated briefly to America to farm, but returned to England following the death of his wife and became an itinerant minister in 1821.
Joseph Ritson (1911:127-9) saw Ride as one of the greatest missionaries and circuit superintendents the Primitive Methodist Church produced, adding that to the fervour, passion and quenchless ardour of the evangelist he added the caution and breadth of aim of the ecclesiastical statesman. Tonks wrote: “To him, more than to any other single individual, is to be traced the wonderful spread of Primitive Methodism eastward, springing from the Brinkworth Circuit” (Tonks, W. C. (1907). Victory in the villages: The history of the Brinkworth Circuit. Aberdare, UK.). Thomas Russell’s serialised biography of him in the Primitive Methodist Magazine of 1886 is subtitled “The Apostle of Berkshire” from his years of powerful and widespread ministry in that county.
This illustrated talk provides an introduction to his life and thought.
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