Diving into an Old Book

Old books scare us. We assume that they must, because of their age, be hard to read and irrelevant to our modern situation. That may be true in some cases, but in others the fact that the old book is still around is because of its quality and its relevance.

I dove into an old book today, one I’ve been wanting to read for a long time (I bought it many years ago), and one which i know has been greatly influential upon people who have influenced me. It was written originally in the middle part of the 18th century by a man considered by many to be one of the most influential and gifted theologians ever. (That line alone will scare most of us away.) And yet I find his writing to be very accessible and engaging and highly relevant.

I’ve given enough info for some of you to guess the author. The following quote will give you further clues to his identify, the name of the book, and a hint to its contemporary relevance. I’ll be posting often, methinks, in response to this book.

“If it be so, that true religion lies much in the affections, hence we may infer, that such means are to be desired, as have much of a tendency to move the affections. Such books, and such a way of preaching the Word, and administration of ordinances, and such as way of worshiping God in prayer, and singing praises, is much to be desired, as has a tendency deeply to affect the hearts of those who attend these means.”

And the author and book would be?

5 thoughts on “Diving into an Old Book

  1. Nejcik

    I’m guessing Jonathan Edwards, not sure whether or not whether it’s “Charity and its Fruits,” the one book of his that I own – and which has been scaring me away too. I’ll give it another shot (right after I copy and paste some of that quote into Google to see if I’m right).

  2. MagistraCarminae

    Someone beat me to it! :-(It is also sitting on my shelves, only glanced at. But then, I hold to the attitude expressed by Roger Nicole when he was asked about his rather extensive (4,000+ volume) library…”Books are to be referenced, not read…”:-)Chris

  3. Nejcik

    Well, I got the author. The other guy that Google found quoting it was somebody arguing in favor of contemporary worship music

  4. A sinner's 2 cents

    I like Edwards and I hate him at the same time. Several years back I started reading the book in question, but couldn’t finish it: Mainly because it was too long and felt a bit redundant after few sections. But I do remember how reading some parts of the book made me feel. I remember how after the end of one of the sections, I was on my knees and weeping for shame of my lack of true affections for Christ. I like Edwards a lot, but I haven’t read much else by him since. The thing with Edwards is that he makes me feel horrible about myself(which I could do without his help). I find that whenever I read Edwards, I feel so little compared to him. It’s like a guilt trip every time I open a book by him. Not that a reminder of our deficience is a bad thing, but I can only take so much. Maybe someday, when I’m feeling good about myself, I’ll revisit him.Tom

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