Monday, May 21, 2012

Books, and why you should read them.

Books, they are my friends. They are not only repositories of facts, but also carriers of ideas. There are those that love books, as did the founding Fathers, there are those that hate books, as did Hitler. Books have been loved, and preserved. Books ranging from our modern-day codex form, to the parchments of ancient Rome. Books have informed thought, for the good, such as Calvin's Institutes, and for the bad, such as Darwin's Origin of Species. In short, all of history has been shaped by books, and especially by one book, the Bible, which is the sun of our book universe, the light from which all of the darkened planets of thought, books, manifestos, and documents must be seen by.

It has been said the pen is mightier than the sword. And there is a great deal of truth in that. Hitler had massive armies, as did Stalin, and Hirohito. They and Mussolini released the sword of Socialism and Communism on the world, and yet it died out, so much so that today the only people that still call themselves Nazis are labeled crack heads. Yet Marx released the pen of his Communist Manifesto, and the people that follow him we call Federal heads.

In the Bible, when Paul the Apostle was in prison, he begs for his books to be sent to him. Great leaders are always readers. For forty years, Queen Elisabeth read for three hours a day. Napoleon took a cart-load of books with him wherever he went. Teddy Roosevelt took books with him when he was hunting in Africa. And Julies Cesar took his parchments with him when he went to Gaul.

If we are to be leaders, than we must be readers. Readers of good books, readers of old books. We are in a war for the world, we have to know who are forefathers were, we have to know our theology, we have to know our science. We have to study constantly, to show ourselves approved. We have to know more than the enemy. We have to acquire the knowledge of the generations that have gone on before.

I am of Thomas Jefferson's persuasion when he said "I cannot live without books." Books are my friends, my comrades. I love books. When you open up a book, you get on board a ship, and that ship is led only by the wind that the author decides to put in your sails. Which is why you must read good books, lest you wreck your boat. A year from now, you will be the same person you are today except for the people that meet and the books that you read. Because the people of books, the men of history, or the characters in novels, if you deem those safe, become you friends, they walk next to you, they talk with you, they become, in short, a part of you. If they die, you cry, if they win, you shout, which is why you must choose good characters to read of, lest you find yourself shouting because the robber escaped punishment.

What Books have influenced you the most?

We all have books that influence us. The books we read first influence us longest. The five books that influence me the most so far, have been the following. (I leave out the Bible, for we all know that the Bible far above all changes our lives more than anything else, for it is what interprets every other book you read. I f it does not, you are not theologicly inept, and must begin at square one.)

#1 King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.

This may sound ridiculous, but this was the first substantial books I ever read, and it gave me a vision for doing something manly, something more than playing games, the idea that there were kingdoms to conquer and wars to win. Providentially, God used this to make me want to fight the wars for His glory.

#2 With Lee in Virginia.

While my first, but by far not favorite Henty book, this book inspired me to respect, as well as for more ideas of battles.

#3 The City of God.

By ST. Augustine, this book I read fairly recently, and it had a profound effect on my thinking in dealing with the Sovereignty of God.

#4 The Wealth of Nations.

I read this book one year ago, it was the best book I have read on economics.

#5 The Lost City of the Incas.

Written by Hiram Bingham the III, this book details the story of the discovery of, in 1912, a lost city high in the Peruvian Andes, by the man that inspired Indiana Jones. (Note, Mr. Bingham is not a Presuppositional Christian in every sense of the world, but this book has given me a love of Peru, so much so that I am currently trying to teach myself Spanish, so that I may make a prolonged trip there in the next ten years, to explore the lost cities, and the hidden jungle.)

Oh armies fade, and kingdoms fall, but books, and the ideas of books, outlast by centuries the men who wrote them. Darwin continues to speak from the grave through his book and you can to. I will give the last word to Von Hess, whose quote adorns the top of my Book Reviews page,

"It is the books you read when you do not have to, that determine who you are when you cannot help it."

Through His Strength We Will Conquer,

Andrew C. Abbott.

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