“Books are the legacies that the generation leave to mankind, to be delivered down from generation to generation as gifts to the living, and those yet unborn” [John Addison]. We as Christians have access to the greatest deposit of sound, scriptural, and spiritual books in the history of the church. What an inestimable wealth of Christian literature is available to us today.
It is a sad and serious thing that these treasures are neglected. There is so little edifying reading among many of God’s people. One of the less-noticed injunctions of the New Testament is Paul’s word to Timothy, “Give attendance to reading” [1 Timothy 4:13]. How many realize that profitable reading is a Christian duty? We are to cultivate a love of good reading.
What an example Paul sets. Imprisoned in Rome he writes to Timothy to bring his books to him [II Timothy 4:13]. Yes, even an inspired apostle must read. He has preached for some thirty years. He has been the penman of the major part of the New Testament. He has enjoyed greater and deeper spiritual experiences than most saints, yet diligently in the prison cell, he will give himself to reading.
“Read the most useful books, and that regularly and constantly” [John Wesley]. “You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study sound theological works, especially the Puritans, and expositions of the Bible” [C.H. Spurgeon].
Above all read the Scriptures of truth. In all reading do not neglect the divine Fountainhead. Be a “Bible Moth,” as the early Methodists, who lived in their Bibles, were derisively called. [Rev. Michael Patrick].
McCHEYNE AND BIBLE STUDY
Robert Murray McCheyne of Dundee, Scotland, died at twenty-nine, having achieved in his short life more than most in a full span. He encouraged believers to read, for example, the Psalms, on our knees with the Bible open before us., thus making reading a prayer.
Speaking of the Psalmist, McCheyne wrote: “He wanted divine teaching – the eye salve of the Spirit. And, therefore, would not open his Bible without this prayer, ‘Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wonderful things out of thy law.’ [Psalm 119:18]. “He was not blind – his eye was not dim…. And yet he felt that he needed to see deeper, to have the eyes of his understanding opened.”
WHO SAID, BE “BROADMINDED?”
Many call us today to be broadminded concerning religion. There is no room for broadmindedness in the chemical laboratory. Water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. The slightest deviation from that formula is forbidden.
There is no room for broadmindedness in music. The skilled conductor will not permit his first violin to play even so much as one-half-note off the written score.
There is no room for broadmindedness in the mathematics classroom. Neither geometry, calculus, arithmetic, nor trigonometry will allow for any variation from exact accuracy. The solution to the mathematical problem is either right or it is wrong; there is no tolerance permitted.
There is no room for broadmindedness in biology. One varying result out of a thousand experiments will invalidate an entire theory.
There is no room for broadmindedness on the athletic field. The games must be played according to the rules with no favours, even for charity’s sake.
There is no room for broadmindedness in the garage. The mechanic there says the pistons must fit the cylinder walls within a thousandth of an inch. Even between friends, there cannot be any variation if the motor is to run smoothly.
How then shall we expect broadmindedness to rule in the realm of Christianity and morals?
THE BOOK OF NATURE WIDE OPEN
God reveals Himself generally in two ways. His creative power is seen in the book of nature, but it does not tell us what God is like. For this, he has given us the special revelation of the Word of God. We ought not neglect the study of both books.
The Book of Nature is now more open than ever, with all the scientific knowledge of the earth and universe that is available to us.
”Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee: and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee” Job 12:7,8.