May 19: The Pastor’s Storehouse

Elsewhere on the Web, someone recently raised the question as to just how many books a pastor really needs. As you might expect, the answers ran the gamut. Here is an entirely unexpected answer to that sort of question:

“A scholar may think his library his storehouse of knowledge, and, in certain circumstances of continuous study, it is so; but we recall walking with the late Dr. Duryea through the alcoves of the fine Theological Library on Somerset Street, Boston, when he said: “This is a splendid and very complete collection, but I find that my work I have to do with a few old tools up in my attic study.” Even a scholarly minister finds his practical need of knowledge too suddenly pressing for the searching of libraries. He has not time to hunt up the needed book, or to hunt through the book for what he wants. His prompt work must be done at once as the need is felt, mainly with no help but such as he can draw from within; with little knowledge but what he has already gathered, with only the briefest suggestion added here and there to what memory already has in possession, stored away from former acquisitions. Here is the only available storehouse, and a man is rich or poor as that storehouse is well filled and so filled that its treasures may be reached promptly at need.”

[excerpted from The Pulpit Treasury, Vol. 19, no. 1 (May 1901): 63.]

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