The authors we publish are noted for their sound, rich theology — their deep devotion — their extensive knowledge of Scripture — and their constant aim to improve the heart, to guide the conscience, and to sanctify the life. Their works are worthy to be held in everlasting remembrance.
"Get good books, read them carefully, store your memories with their contents, and pray to the Lord to give you grace to reduce them to practice! Remember, the best books are inefficient without God's blessing! Pray that He may apply the contents of this book to your heart. Everything is just what God makes it. God can make this book a Nathan--to warn reprove and challenge you. He may make it a Solomon--to advise counsel and instruct you. He can make it a source of pleasure, a rod of correction, or a light to shine on some difficult path!" (James Smith)
"There is a richness and fullness of divine truth in the old writers, which, with all their antiquated style — the modern writers lack. And oh! their devotion — their communion with God — their sustained and elevated piety! This is what we lack — this is our deficiency!" (John Angell James, June 2, 1856)
"What is written is permanent, and spreads itself further by far — for time, place, and people — than the voice can reach." (Thomas Brooks)
"This is a reading age — and as books are cheap, largely read, and easily procurable, the press has come to embrace a wider circle and to possess a greater influence on the public mind than any other medium of communication. The Christian press has spread itself in all directions, and exercises an influence scarcely inferior to that of the pulpit. Works, therefore, written by gracious men, whether living or dead, may be viewed as exercising a ministry of their own, running, as it were, parallel to that of the pulpit, and in harmony with it — but possessing the advantage of penetrating into places, and speaking on occasions where the voice of the living preacher cannot come, as well as of being accessible at all times, lying silently and unobtrusively on the table or the bookshelf, ready to be taken up or laid down at pleasure — and, if we have well chosen them, our trustiest friends and wisest counselors, who will always tell us the truth without fear and without flattery." (J. C. Philpot, "New Years' Address" 1868)
Books may preach . . .
when the author cannot,
when the author may not,
when the author dares not,
yes, and which is more,
when the author is not.
"The work of the pen lives on, when the fingers are dust!" Thorold
"In books for spiritual edification, much depends upon the manner in which they are read. If taken up carelessly and read in a light mood, they are likely to do little good. The attention will not be fixed, nor the heart engaged, nor the conscience awakened. You must be somewhere alone with God — where you can have leisure and opportunity to commune with your own heart and with Him — where you can pause, reflect, and pray, unobserved by a single fellow-creature — where you can stop, examine, meditate, and it may be, weep. Before you read another chapter, put down the volume, fall upon your knees and agonize in prayer, that the perusal may be blessed to your soul. Take the book with you into your closet. Read it in your most serious hours, in your greatest privacy, and in the most solemn manner." (John Angell James)
"If we can throw any light on the word of truth, if we can enable our readers more clearly to understand, more firmly to believe, and more experimentally to feel the power of what God has revealed in the Scriptures for their instruction, edification, and consolation, that will be our chief reward, as, we hope, it is our chief aim." (J. C. Philpot)
"If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth is not diffused — error will be. If God and His Word are not known and received — the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy. If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet—the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will. If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land — anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness, will reign without mitigation or end." (Daniel Webster, 1823)
"We have often thought that if the children of God who are blessed with time and opportunity, instead of galloping over the flimsy religious productions of the present day, would set themselves prayerfully and carefully to read these old sovereign grace authors, they would, with God's blessing, derive a benefit from them, that would amply repay them. We can say for ourselves that when favored with a spiritual frame, we have rarely taken up any of these authors without finding some instruction, or edification, or reproof, or something to do our soul good, and draw it up to heavenly things." (J. C. Philpot)
"I am still in the thrall of one insatiable desire, which hitherto I have been neither able nor willing to check — I cannot get enough books! Books indeed have a special charm. Gold, silver, gems, splendid clothing, a house of marble, beautiful paintings — things such as these give but a superficial pleasure. But books delight us through and through — they talk with us, then give us good counsel, they enter into a living and intimate companionship with us." (Francesca Betrarra, 1346)
Richard Baxter's Guide
To The Value Of A Book
Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy Scriptures ever have the pre-eminence. Let Scripture be first and most in your hearts and hands and other books be used as subservient to it.
While reading ask yourself:
1. Could I spend this time no better?
2. Are there better books that would edify me more?
3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?
4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?
"Books are precious heirlooms from one generation to another, training us, encouraging us, teaching us — by the words and thoughts of men whose bodies have crumbled into dust long ago, but whose words still live and bear fruit in our hearts, and in the hearts of our children after us, until the last day."
"A good book is the best of friends — the same today and forever." (Martin Tupper)
"The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails — given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body." Ecclesiastes 12:11-12