7. REFLECT ON WHAT YOU READ. Meditation and reflection are the better half of study. It is the more difficult, but the more profitable. We like the luxury of letting new thoughts enter our minds, without the trouble of weighing their truth and value. Like the Athenians, we are desiring new things rather than the truth. But the way to make thoughts our own, and to attain solid knowledge, and new and original ideas; to compare it with similar things; and thus both ascertain its real value, and profitably apply it to use. -- 'It is not so important,' says Mrs. More, 'to know every thing, as to know the exact value of every thing, to appreciate what we learn, and to arrange what we know.' Miss Bowdler, with great justice observes, 'The best book or the most instructive conversation will afford little pleasure or advantage, by being merely remembered, in comparison with what it might afford, by exciting new reflections in the mind, which lead to a new train of thought, and make the riches of others become in sort sort its own.'
Students who are always reading without intermission, and seldom weighing or deliberating, make but little progress in true wisdom. Study and reading, as Locke has observed, are distinct things. A man of great reading is not therefore a man of great knowledge. But patient reflection, and unbroken attention have been the great secrets of acquiring the profound knowledge which distinguished such men as Bacon and Newton. Luther thus expresses his views of the best way to make a Christian divine. 'Three things make a Divine; meditation, prayer, and temptation: and three things must be done by the minister of the word -- search the Bible, pray seriously, and always remain a learner.'
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Reflect On What You Read
Edward Bickersteth, The Christian Student: Designed to Assist Christians in General in Acquiring Religious Knowledge, With a List of Books Suitable for a Minister's Library, pp. 172-173: