Monday, December 7, 2009

Thomas Murphy's Recommended Pastoral Library

The following is a list of recommended books that should be had and consulted by the Christian minister in his library prepared by Thomas Murphy, an Irish-American Presbyterian, who was born in Country Antrim in 1823 and died in New Jersey in 1900. Where possible and desirable, I have provided links to online edition of the works he cited for easier reference.

Thomas Murphy, Pastoral Theology; The Pastor in the Various Duties of His Office (1877), pp. 144-147:

In order to give some assistance in the selection of books, we would name a few upon the respective branches of ministerial study. We pass by general reading and culture, for it is with the minister in his special calling as pastor that we are now concerned. We give only a few authors as many as may serve at the beginning of the ministry a sort of indispensable apparatus for commencing the great work. At least, the pastor's library should be stocked with most of these as soon as circumstances will allow. The books we name have been well tried, and are recommended by persons whose judgment is worthy of confidence.

1. Books of general reference. Webster's or Worcester's English Dictionary -- this should be a constant companion; Roget's Thesaurus of English Words; some good general Encyclopaedia if possible.

2. Interpretation of Scripture. Cruden's Concordance; Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Hackett's edition; Simmons' Manual; Wheeler's Analysis and Summary of Old Testament History; Whitney or Barrow's Sacred Geography; The Land and the Book.

3. Commentaries. On the whole Bible, Henry's Commentary; Critical and Experimental Commentary by Jamieson, Faussett and Brown; Lange's great Bible work is a thesaurus of scriptural exposition which may be secured as the wants of the pastor require. Many of the best expositors have written on only one or a few books of Scripture. A detailed list of some of the most useful of these may now be given: On Genesis, Murphy, Jacobus, Bush; on Exodus, Murphy, Jacobus, Bush; on Leviticus, Bush, Bonar; on Numbers, Bush, Keil and Delitzsch; on Deuteronomy, Keil and Delitzsch; on the whole Pentateuch, Calvin; on Joshua and Judges, Bush, Keil and Delitzsch; on Ruth and Samuel, Keil and Delitzsch; on Esther, McCrie; on Job, Barries; on Psalms, Barnes, Calvin; on Proverbs, Bridges, Stuart; on Ecclesiastes, Bridges; on Song of Solomon, Newton; on Isaiah, Barnes, Alexander; on Jeremiah and Lamentations, Henderson; on Ezekiel, Fairbairn; on Daniel, Barnes, Auberlin, Stuart; on the minor prophets, Henderson; on Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, Moore; on the four Evangelists, John J. Owen; on Matthew and Mark, Alexander; on John, Hutch[e]son; on Acts, Alexander, Hackett, Jacobus; on Romans, Hodge, Turner; on Corinthians, Hodge; on Galatians, Luther; on Ephesians, Hodge; on Philippians and Colossians, Eadie; on Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus and Philemon, Barnes; on Hebrews, Stuart, Owen; on James, Barnes, Pattison; on Peter, Barnes and Leighton; on John and Jude, Barnes; on Revelation, Stuart, Barnes and Auberlin.

4. Theology. Systematic Theology, by Hodge; Hill's Divinity; Dwight's Theology; Dick's Theology; Outlines of Theology, by A. A. Hodge; Pictet's Theology.

5. Church History. Mosehim's Ecclesiastical History; Shedd's History of Doctrines; Kurtz's Sacred History; Schaff's Apostolic Church; McCrie's Life of Knox; History of the Church in Chronological Tables, H. B. Smith; The Ancient Church, by Dr. Killen; D'Aubigne's Histories.

6. Church Government and the Sacraments. Miller on the Christian Ministry; Miller on the Ruling Elder; Primitive Church Officers, J. A. Alexander; Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity; Coleman's Primitive Church.

7. Sermons. This field is a boundless one, and we give only a few books which are known to be of standard value: South's Sermons; Robert Hall's Sermons; Sermons of John M. Mason these should be read by all means; Davie's Sermons; Archibald Alexander's Practical Sermons; Gospel in Ezekiel, Guthrie; Principal Cunningham's Sermons, amongst the best in the language; Spurgeon's Sermons; Bishop Horsley's Sermons, among the best.

8. Practical Piety. Russell's Letters; Rutherford's Letters; A Kempis; James's Earnest Ministry; Winslow's Precious Things of God; Baxter's Reformed Pastor; Daily Meditations by Bowen; Owen on the Glory of Christ a work of pre-eminent value; Owen on Spiritual-Mindedness -- Dr. Alexander said this should be read once a year; Howe's Delight in God; Flavel's Keeping the Heart.

9. Christian Biography. Lives of McCheyne, Simeon, Henry Martyn, Hal[y]burton, Archibald Alexander.

10. Great Puritan Writers. John Howe -- all of his works. Says James W. Alexander, "A little reading in the pages of great thought will sometimes set one thinking, as if by a happy contagion. Such pages are those of John Howe." Owen, especially on Hebrews Dr. Mason used to say all his theology was from this. Some of his most valuable productions are on "Spiritual-Mindedness," on the "Glory of Christ," on "Forgiveness of Sin," "Indwelling Sin," and "Mortification of Sin;" Baxter, especially his "Saints Rest" and "Reformed Pastor," Leighton's works; Flavel's works highly recommended; and Charnock on the "Divine Attributes."

11. On Sabbath-school Work. "Sunday-School Idea" (Hart); "Sabbath -School Index" (Pardee); "Preparing to Teach" (Presbyterian Board).

The minister who has secured most of these books is furnished with the best of reading for many a day, and with authorities on almost all subjects that can come before him in his profession. Of other authors he will find out the value in the progress of his ministry, and purchase them as new wants arise. It was an excellent advice of Dr. Archibald Alexander that ministers should buy books only as they are actually needed, and not to be stored away on the shelves of the library for future use. Our last advice is to be sure of getting only the standard and very best authors.

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