Writers & their Labours

Judges 5:14
      And out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all the people, Psalm 96:3. Declare―the corresponding word is a book; and the participle is often rendered a scribe, a writer, Psalm 45:1. The verb is rendered, tell, show forth, declare. The variety of verbs used in Psalm 96:1-3, proves that we are to employ all proper means for making known the Saviour. One of these methods is by writing. 

JOHN ROBINSON (1575-1625): Writing is the speech of the absent.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: The pen is an artificial tongue―By it any one may send his thoughts abroad.

THOMAS ADAMS (1583-1656): Our books may come to be seen where ourselves shall never be heard. These may preach where the author cannot, and―which is more―when he is not.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): I did greatly long to see some ancient godly man’s experience, who had writ some hundreds of years before I was born…Well, after many such longings in my mind, the God, in whose hands are all our days and ways, did cast into my hand one day, a book of Martin Luther―his comment on the Galatians…I was pleased much that such an old book had fallen into my hands; the which, when I had but a little way perused, I found my condition, in his experience, so largely and profoundly handled, as if his book had been written out of my own heart. This made me marvel.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): John Bunyan “being dead, yet speaketh.”

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: It may be said that there are two classes of authors. The first writes for generations to come. The other writes but for the present generation. The latter class is larger. The former is the more distinguished. But it is not possible for any mortal to say which class confers the greater blessings on mankind. Nor can it be commonly be told to which class a given man belongs until his thoughts are published, and often not till one or two generations have passed away. Milton’s Paradise Lost and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress were despised by the mass of their countrymen for a long time after they were written.

ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748): I had rather be the author of Richard Baxter’s Call to the Unconverted, than the author of Milton’s Paradise Lost.

RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): I was but a pen in God’s hand, and what praise is due to a pen?

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: To be able during a lifetime to bring out one such volume is a great honour to any man; and, if he does it with right motives and to a right end, he shall not lose his reward. Some aged men among the living, and many pious men who have departed this life, have unquestionably done more good by their writings than by their oral addresses, though they were abundant in preaching and exhortation.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Trees are known by their fruit, and books by their effect upon the mind. It is not the elegance of its diction, but the excellence of its influence by which a book is to be estimated.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: We should not undervalue that class of writings designed at once to check rising errors―or to put the masses to thinking and searching for truth. Every age ought to produce a large body of publications for its own use. Let no man despise a good writer as ephemeral, if his work is but useful in his own day. Yet it is a mercy, a great favour, to be allowed to write even a small work for other ages and countries besides our own. Let us all earnestly covet the best gifts.

C. H. SPURGEON: Oh! to think that we may write and print books which shall reach poor sinners’ hearts. The other day my soul was gladdened exceedingly by a pious woman [who] told me she had been ten years on her bed, and had not been able to stir from it. “Nine years,” she said, “ I was dark, and blind, and unthinking; but my husband brought me one of your sermons. I read it, and God blessed it to the opening of my eyes. He converted my soul with it. And now, all glory to Him! I love His name! Each Sabbath morning,” she said, “I wait for your sermon. I live on it all the week, as marrow and fatness to my spirit.” Ah! thought I, there is something to cheer the printers, and all of us who labour in that good work.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: The power of good books to bless mankind is very great.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Thus must every man, according as he has received the gift, minister the same, for the public good, I Peter 4:10.

C. H. SPURGEON:* To increase the circulation may seem a small matter to speak of, and yet it is not so. What is the use of a man speaking or writing if he has no audience? If an audience is desirable, is it not desirable that it should be increased? If his listeners and readers can be multiplied, is not the man thus enabled to do good on a wider scale? What is worth doing for a few is still more worth doing for many. We therefore invite our readers’ help to enlarge our constituency. We will do our best to produce the magazine, and to speak boldly for the cause and kingdom of our Lord Jesus; and we ask on the part of our subscribers that they will provide for us open doors by introducing our magazine to their friends and neighbours.


*Editor’s Note: This last quotation is taken from the preface of the first issue of Spurgeon’s Sword & Trowel Magazine, 1865.  And we feel exactly the same way about this blog.


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