Like you, much of my research is now done with my computer. If I am not utilizing the many resources so quickly available on the internet, I am using e-Sword (a great, simple and free Bible program you can download and use). Several of you recommend tools such as Logos or other software options. What choice do we have? Fighting it only leads to frustration (though I still have yet to text). However, there is something special in doing what I did this afternoon. I went to my little library and sat down to read a 140-year-old copy of Memoir of McCheyne by Andrew Bonar (Prebyterian Board of Publication, 1872). I am assuming the date of publication because a certain “J.A. Woods” signed his name on the inside cover and included the date 1872. The introduction was dated 1844, so it is possible the book is over 150 years old. I’m sure you’ve held an old book in your hand, brittle pages with the unique smell of antiquities. It’s like a mystical connection with the past. Too sentimental?
It was time well spent on a Sunday afternoon.
In the title above, the word Selah appears. That’s Hebrew for “pause and consider.” It can be found quite a bit in the book of Psalms. In Israel’s manual for praise and prayer, the nation was repeatedly told to stop and think deeply. McCheyne helped me to do just that on a very hot July Lord’s Day. I found one particular journal entry interesting today.
“April 9, 1837.–Evening–A very pleasant quietness. Study of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Came to a more intelligent view of the first six chapters than ever before. Much refreshed by John Newton instructed by Edwards. Help and freedom in prayer. Lord, what a happy season is a Sabbath evening. What will heaven be!” (p.84)
Consider those words from the honest pen of a young pastor. McCheyne had a deep and lasting passion to grow in the knowledge of God (2 Pet. 3:18). As a result, he studied the Bible (Hebrews 1-6). He also read other edifying material. If I understand him correctly, he read the writings of John Newton (perhaps some of the same letters I have from the author of Amazing Grace). As he was doing so, he was encouraged by both Newton (1725-1807) and Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). Don’t you love McCheyne’s teachability?! He read Bible and authors who bleed Bible! What an example for us!
Did you have a good Lord’s Day? I hope you did. We really enjoyed our fellowship with the people of God at church. This afternoon we hung out at the Chattanooga Farmer’s Market and went swimming with the kids. The sun is now beginning to set. Cascade is walking around in a diaper, talking to an imaginary friend on a toy cell phone (you can’t get cancer from those, can you?). Jodi is juicing–again (don’t ask). It’s been a good day, and a busy week begins in the morning.
I hope you have a great one!