I don’t typically read books over and over again. In fact, I don’t watch movies over and over again either. There are too many books I haven’t read and too many movies I haven’t watched. To my knowledge, the only book I have read more than once is the Bible.
I can do no better than the Westminster Shorter Catechism on the importance of reading God’s Word.
Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.
Richard Baxter’s book The Reformed Pastor, offers a passionate appeal for pastor’s to shepherd their flock. Baxter had an eloquent way of saying things. He also conveyed the pastor’s calling with weightiness. Preaching is a matter of life and death. To step into the pulpit with any other mindset is a grave mistake. Baxter was an ambitious Puritan producing 135 pieces of literature in his lifetime. His book A Christian Directory is an encyclopedia of practical pastoral care. In the preface to The Reformed Pastor, J.I. Packer writes that Richard Baxter was “the most outstanding pastor, evangelist and writer on practical and devotional themes that Puritanism produced,” (9). Continue reading →
Jonathan Edwards distinguishes between the way true saints speak of God compared to the way hypocrites focus on their own experience of God. This acute perception casts doubt on every health and wealth preacher I’ve ever heard (and then some).
As in their high affections they keep their eye upon the beauty of their experiences, and greatness of their attainments; so they are great talkers about themselves.—The true saint, when under great spiritual affections, from the fullness of his heart, is ready to be speaking much of God, and his glorious perfections and works, and of the beauty and amiableness of Christ, and the glorious things of the gospel: but hypocrites, in their high affections, talk more of the discovery, than they do of the thing discovered; they are full of talk about the great things they have met with, the wonderful discoveries they have had, how sure they are of the love of God to them, how safe their condition is, and how they know they shall go to heaven, &c.
Jonathan Edwards provides an important warning to those whose affections for God are based upon what he does for them rather than who he is.
These things that I have said do by no means imply, that all gratitude to God is a mere natural thing, and that there is no such thing as a spiritual gratitude, which is a holy and divine affection: they imply no more, than that there is a gratitude which is merely natural, and that when persons have affections towards God only or primarily for benefits received, their affection is only the exercise of a natural gratitude.
I didn’t spend much time reading when I was growing up. I only read what I had to in school. I typically spent my free time watching tv or playing video games. So I have not read very many classic novels. In fact, I can count the number of classics I have read on one hand (without using my thumb)…
But that’s all going to change. I am committed to reading through (at least some of) the best classics. I have been asking people what their favorite classic novel is in order to narrow down my selection.
Help me out by participating in the poll below. Feel free to add one that isn’t already on the list (please add the name and author).