Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Alexandrian Library

Being the bibliophile that I am, I have often wished to use a time machine to visit the great ancient Alexandrian Library before it was consumed by fire. Historians write as if it was the repository of the sum and pinnacle of human knowledge, and its destruction was indeed presumably a great loss for mankind. But if quality counts more than quantity, I would rather have access to a small library, carefully selected and employed for the most spiritual edification and profit, than the multitudes of dusty tomes that take up space in a basement or bandwidth on an e-library because they are not worth reading. It is not only Christian literature to which I am referring, but that which meets the criteria found in Philippians 4.8.

Thomas Fuller, Introductio ad Prudentiam: or, Directions, Counsels, and Cautions, Tending to Prudent Management of Affairs in Common Life:

When thou hast resolved what to study, advise what are the best books on that subject, and procure them: as for indifferent ones, I would not have thee throw away any time or pains on them if thou canst get better. A few books well chosen, and well made use of, will be more profitable to thee than a great confused Alexandrian Library.

1 comment:

  1. What a comforting quote for someone who reads slowly, and has to reread to be certain of understanding, so has to necessarily be very limited! I find many things not worth that kind of effort -- though there are far too many that are worth every effort to understand their contents, for me ever to hope to read even a significant fraction. So I am learning to be content with reading what is most helpful to godliness and joy in my own station.