DEVOTIONAL READING.





A person may almost be known by the books he reads. If he habitually reads

bad books, we can pretty safely conclude that he is a bad man; on the

other hand, if he habitually reads religious books, we can reasonably

presume that he is a religious man. Why is this? It is because the nature

of a person's books is usually the nature of his thoughts; and as a man

thinks, so he is.



Consequently, our reading devotional literature is a great aid to our

being devotional. Too few, I fear, realize how important to our spiritual

advancement is the cultivation of a taste for devotional reading. As a

rule, those who have a taste for spiritual books and gratify that taste

prosper in the Lord, while those who have no relish for such books labor

at a great disadvantage. Some one has said that "he who begins a devout

life without a taste for spiritual reading may consider the ordinary

difficulties multiplied in his case by ten." The most spiritual men of all

ages have had a strong love for reading spiritual books. If, however, my

reader happens not to have such a taste or such a love, he should not be

discouraged, for it can be created and increased through perseverance in

reading devotional literature. Just as a person who does not relish a

certain food may learn to like it if he will persist in eating it, so a

person who does not have a taste for devotional books may come to enjoy

them if he will diligently and prayerfully peruse them.



Spiritual reading invigorates the intellect, warms the affections, and

begets in us a desire for more of God's fulness and for a more heavenly

life. It is especially helpful to prayer. When the mind is dull and the

spirits low and we have no inspiration for prayer, the reading of a

spiritual poem will often so stimulate the mind, raise the spirits, and

animate the soul, as to make it easy for us to pray.



As to what books to read, the Bible, of course, is the best of all. But we

need others. Although no other book can take the place of the Bible and

none of us should neglect reading it, there are many books that can

profitably be read in connection with it.



But whatever devotional book you are reading, do not read too fast. Think

and digest as you go. Let there be a frequent lifting of the heart to God

in prayer. It is not the bee that flies so swiftly from flower to flower

that gathers the honey, but the bee that goes down into the flower. A few

sentences taken into the mind and heart, and dwelt upon until they have

become a part of us, are better than many pages read superficially.





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