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"Give attention to reading" Part 1

1 Timothy 4:13-14
"Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." NKJV

Ver. 13. Give attendance to reading. --

Lecture on reading: --

I. First, THE CHOICE OF BOOKS. In this there is a great need of caution; particularly in the spring season of life, while the mental and moral habits are yet in a process of formation. A person may be ruined by reading a single volume. It is a maxim, then, ever to be borne in mind, take heed what you read.

To acquire useful information; to improve the mind in knowledge, and the heart in goodness; to become qualified to perform with honour and usefulness the duties of life, and prepared for a happy immortality beyond the grave -- these are the great objects which ought ever to be kept in view in reading. And all books are to be accounted good or bad in their effects just as they tend to promote or hinder the attainment of these objects. Taking this as the criterion by which to regulate your choice of books, you will, I think, be led to give an important place to historical reading, especially to that which relates to our own country.

History is the mirror of the world. In addition to a knowledge of our own history, some acquaintance with the government and laws of the society in which we live would seem an almost indispensable qualification of a good citizen. Nearly related to history, and not less important, is biography. This is a kind of reading most happily adapted to minds of every capacity and degree of improvement. Few authors can be read with more profit than those that illustrate the natural sciences, and show their application to the practical arts of life. 

Authors of this character teach us to read and understand the sublime volume of creation. Not less valuable are those writers that make us acquainted with our own minds and hearts; that analyse and lay open the secret springs of action; unfold the principles of political and moral science; illustrate the duties which we owe to our fellow-men, to society, and to God; and by teaching us the nature, dignity, and end of our existence, aim to elevate our views and hopes, and lead us to aspire after the true glory and happiness of rational and immortal beings. Especially must this be said of the Bible.

One of the greatest and best of men, I refer to Sir William Jones, a judge of the supreme court of judicature, in Bengal, has said of the Bible, "I have carefully and regularly perused the Scriptures, and am of opinion that this volume, independent of its Divine origin, contains more sublimity, purer morality, more important history, and finer strains of eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever language they may have been written." Were I now to give you one rule for all, for regulating your choice of books, it should be this -- "Books are good or bad in their tendency as they make you relish the Word of God the more or the less after you have read them." Having made these remarks to assist you in a proper choice of books, I will --

(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc.)