The Unread Book
Perhaps there is no book more neglected in these days than the Bible. I truly believe there are more mouldy Bibles in this world than there are of any other sort of neglected book. We have still–born books in abundance, innumerable volumes with practically no circulation at all, but we have no book that is so much bought and then so speedily laid aside as the Bible. If we buy a newspaper, it is generally handed from one person to another, or we take care to peruse it pretty well—indeed some go so far as to read advertisements and all. If someone purchases a novel, it is well known how such will sit and read it all the way through till the midnight candle is burnt out. The book must be finished in one day because it is so admirable and interesting. By contrast, the Bible is not perceived as an interesting book, and the subjects it deals with are not viewed as of any great importance. So most men think. They view the Bible as a very good book to carry with them on a Sunday, but not to which one could turn with delight. Such is the opinion of a great many, but no opinion could be so far from the truth! What book can so deserve my attention as that which is written by God himself? If I must read a valuable book with attention, how much more ought I to give my mind to the study of a book which is invaluable? If books about my health, or books which only concern the activities of my fellow creatures must occupy some of my time, how much more time should I spend in reading that which concerns my everlasting destiny, which reveals to me worlds hitherto unknown and which tells me how I may escape from hell and get to heaven?
Even among many Christians, the Bible is one of the least read books in the house. What with our innumerable magazines, our religious newspapers, and our perpetual controversies about Scripture, it is too seldom that people actually read the Bible. There certainly is not the reading of it that there used to be. The Puritans would scarcely read any book but the Bible and if a book was not at least to do with the Bible, then they did not care about reading it at all. Perhaps they may have been too strait and narrow and have somewhat cramped their minds, but I would rather have a little truth and have a mind filled with that, than have the most gigantic intellect and have that crammed with error. I implore you, you who belong to Christ, if you have but little time, do not expend it in reading ephemeral books, but take your Bible and read that. I promise you one thing: the more you read the Bible the more you will love it. You may find it hard to begin with, and difficult even to read and meditate upon a short passage, but as you proceed you will discover such unutterable sweetness in this precious honey–comb that you will say, ‘I must have more of it’. Instead of being the unread book, it will become the book that you cannot do without.