Luther's Library, Spurgeon's Wit

Do you ever feel uninformed and ill-read? I regret failing to study English Literature at A-level after all these yesrs, electing instead the tedium of geography’s soil samples and endless graphs. Even in the Christian world, I feel ignorant and oblivious about this author or that, this or that great book. I go to Christian book shops and feel overwhelmed: so much to read and so little time with which to do it. Still, I found comfort in one of Luther’s tirades recently:

The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no measure or limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author; some out of vanity, to acquire celebrity and raise up a name; others for the sake of lucre and gain. The Bible is now buried under so many commentaries, that the text is nothing regarded. I could wish all my books were buried nine ells deep in the ground, by reason of the ill example they will give, every one seeking to imitate me in writing many books, with the hope of procuring fame. But Christ died not to favour our ambition and vain glory, but that his name might be glorified. The aggregation of large libraries tends to divert men's thoughts from the one great book, the Bible, which ought, day and night, to be in every one's hand. My object, my hope, in translating the Scriptures, was to check the so prevalent production of new works, and so to direct men's study and thoughts more closely to the divine Word. Never will the writings of mortal man in any respect equal the sentences inspired by God. We must yield the place of honour to the prophets and the apostles, keeping ourselves prostrate at their feet as we listen to their teaching. I would not have those who read my books, in these stormy times, devote one moment to them which they would otherwise have consecrated to the Bible.

On the other hand, here is the Prince of Preachers, C.H. Spurgeon:

Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men's brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.

Which one is right? The word Bible can mean library, and it is the only one really worthy of subscription. Yet he who would be wise, have knowledge and understanding, will not shun nor disdain the thoughts of others. Read as widely and as much as you can. The Bible itself, however, is the only book which we can accept without quibble. All others are spirits which must be tested. 

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