Influence of Good Books.
By Rev. W. M. PUNSHON, LL.D.
I thought how an old Puritan doctor wrote a book years and years ago, called "The Bruised Reed," which fell just at the right time into the hands of Richard Baxter, and brought him under the influence of the enlightening power of the Spirit of God; and then Baxter's ministry was like the sun in his strength, and he wrote a book called "The Call to the Unconverted," which continued to speak long after Baxter himself had ceased to speak with human tongue. That "Call to the Unconverted" went preaching on until it got into the hands of Philip Doddridge (prepared by his pious mother's teaching from the Dutch tiles of a mantel-piece with very quaint Scriptural stories); and it was the means of enlightening him to a broader knowledge, and a richer faith, and a deeper experience of the things of God. And then I thought how Doddridge wrote a book called "The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul," which, just at a critical period in his history, fell into the hands of William Wilberforce, who wrote a book called "Practical Christianity," which, far down in the sunny Isle of Wight, fired the heart of a clergyman, who has attained, perhaps, in connection with this society, the broadest and widest reputation of all—for who has not heard of Legh Richmond? He wrote the simple annals of a Methodist girl, and published it under the title of "The Dairyman's Daughter''; and I should like to know into how many languages that has been translated, and been made of God a power for the spread of truth. The same book on "Practical Christianity'' went right down into a secluded parish in Scotland, and it found there a young clergyman who was preaching a gospel that he did not know, and it instructed him in the way of God more perfectly, and he came forth a champion valiant for the truth upon the earth, until all Scotland rang with the eloquence of Thomas Chalmers. Look at it!—not a flaw in the chain: Richard Sibbes, Richard Baxter, Philip Doddridge, William Wilberforce, Legh Richmond, Thomas Chalmers—is not that apostolical succession?
Article from: The Evangelization of the World: A Missionary Band: a Record of Consecration, and an Appeal, by B. Broomhall, (1889)