Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"All Christians and myself form one body, one church, just as far as a common love and piety possess our hearts. Nothing is more real than this spiritual union. There is one grand, all-comprehending church; and if I am a Christian, I belong to it, and no man can shut me out of it. You may exclude me from your Roman church, your Episcopal church, and your Calvinistic church, on account of supposed defects in my creed or my sect, and I am content to be excluded. But I will not be severed from the great body of Christ. Who shall sunder me from such men as Fenelon, and Pascal, and Borromeo, from Archbishop Leighton, Jeremy Taylor, and John Howard? Who can rupture the spiritual bond between these men and myself? Do I not hold them dear? Does not their spirit, flowing out through their writings and lives, penetrate my soul? Are they not a portion of my being? Am I not a different man from what I should have been, had not these and other like spirits acted on mine? William Ellery Channing - American preacher and religious reformer, 1780-1842

I posted this quote not because I have been excluded from any church, as yet, but for the sentiments I share with Channing regarding Godly authors. I too am a "different man" in large part because of God's voice through past divines. And now, in this post, he names some I have not read, but if the company their in is indication of the content of their works, I'm off to the book store!

Photo by Laurentiu Margalin


Mel said...

Praise God! What a great quote! Which author(s) have had the most profound impact on your life? I know that Thomas Brooks is one of them. Who else?

I have been impacted most profoundly by people who are alive now, but they speak from hearts that were impacted by great men from the past--Lewis, Tozer, Edwards, and Spurgeon (to name a few). It's hard to imagine what my worldview would be like without their influence, and I thank God for the internet and other electronic devices that make their words so readily and economically available.

FCB said...

I knew you would like that quote because you have been the beneficiary of much inspiration from authors old and new. The first book that caused change in me (after the Bible of course) was William Law's book "A Serious Call To A Devout and Holy Life." Of course the unabridged edition. This book along with Jeremy Taylor's "Holy Living", were the two books that John Wesly said inspired him.

Banner of Truth Trust publishing reprints many out of print Christian classics, and I have the whole set of paperbacks inexpensively, and they are all good. Thomas A Kempis's The Imitation of Christ is the most read devotional book in the world and all Christians must read this in quiet times, very quiet.
Fenelon is much like A Kempis, maybe somewhat more fatherly.
I have listed a few others under My Profile. I posted a sermon from T.De Witt Talmage to give you a flavor of his writings, although this is one of his best in my opinion. I have been a Christian a long time and have heard thousands of sermons, and many of those over many times, so I like to read authors that have sizzle and snap to their writing; and the poetic styled writers make old themes new. I also grew up listening to emotional music blaring in my face, and so I like a preacher that has taken the effort to learn the craft of public speaking, uses colorful illustrations and causes me to stretch my neck. I usually read with a dictionary by my side and don't mind the extra effort the old writers require. This winter I will be crawling through my attic to find my copy of Religious Affections by Edwards, whom you have ignited a renewed interest in reading. I also like the mystics, but in small doses, they are so devoted I feel like a pagan after a chapter or two.
Lastly I must not fail to mention Orison Swett Marden's book "Pushing to the Front", this is a master piece in inspiration. Many books like this printed around the turn of the century, but his is best, albeit he writes with breakneck speed. I have purchased additional copies and have willed each of my children a copy. It removes all excuses for failure within its pages. It makes the "Power of Positive Thinking" seem like a book on depression in comparison. :)So many others which you have a lifetime to explore. When I die Eric will get many of my books, you can borrow some from him.
But I'll say every Christian should try and read Law's book I mentioned, Taylor's Holy Living, Thomas A Kempis's "Imitation of Christ", As well as Fenelon's "Let Go", and Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress". These give a reader a years worth of reading if savored.
And these are Christian classics that have changed countless lives.
Many blessings,

Mel said...

Wow, thanks Fred! I appreciate your thoughtful answer. Except I hope not to be borrowing any of your books from Pastor Eric for at least another 3 or 4 decades, so I'll be searching the public library and online sources between now and then.

Many Blessings!