Posted in theology

Here’s why we should read old books

By Elizabeth Prata

I’m reading a biography of the short missionary life of William Borden, turn of the last century. It’s called Borden of Yale ’09 by Mrs. Howard Taylor. It’s considered to be a good bio of the young millionaire who gave it all up to be a missionary, but tragically died before he reached his intended field. It’s a good book that paints a sweet picture of a godly man raised in a godly family. As a boy, Borden attended Moody Church in Chicago and sat under the preaching of RA Torrey. At home, he was under the influence of his mother, who had a vibrant prayer life. He went to the academy at The Hill in PA and then to Yale for college, hence the title of the biography. Borden had an incredible missionary influence at his own sphere in college while he was training to be a missionary.

When he was a teenager at The Hill academy, Borden heard a sermon by G. Campbell Morgan, Martyn Lloyd Jones’ mentor. I was intrigued by Borden’s short summary of the sermon, as recorded in his letter home to his mother. I had never heard of Campbell Morgan.

G. Campbell Morgan

G. Campbell Morgan, 1863-1945 –

"A contemporary of Rodney "Gipsy" Smith, Morgan preached his first sermon at age 13. He was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London from 1904 to 1919, pausing for 14 years to teach at Biola in Los Angeles, and returning to the Chapel from 1933 to 1943 when he handed over the pastorate to the renowned Martyn Lloyd-Jones, after having shared it with him and mentored him for some years previous". (Source Wikipedia).

In 1910 Morgan contributed an essay entitled The Purposes of the Incarnation to the first volume of The Fundamentals, 90 essays which are widely considered to be the foundation of the modern Fundamentalist movement. (source StudyLight)

Morgan is considered an excellent expositor, some calling him the prince of biblical expositors. His 10-volume “Analyzed Bible” is considered culturally important and a wonderful addition to the body of commentaries. Most of Morgan’s sermons, booklets, and books can be found online and are accessible for free. One place is the Internet Archive. Did you know that the Internet Archive not only caches web pages, but stores books in an open library, available to read online for free? (Also audio, TV programs, and movies). Here is the Open Library at the Internet Archive for Campbell Morgan (including The Analyzed Bible).

I had no idea of this 20th century expositor, and one who was friend to Charles Spurgeon and mentor to Martyn Lloyd Jones. This week I’ll be writing about the sermon that so impacted young William Borden, which can be found in Campbell Morgan’s booklet “The Hidden Years at Nazareth”. I had discovered Borden a few months ago by reading another ‘old book’ which led me to Borden of Yale ’09, and now mention of G. Campbell Morgan led me to that great expositor, is another reason to hold onto these saints’ books from the past. They are written about for our edification and instruction, and for an encouragement of learning about past deeds for Christ.

Read old books. They have a lot to tell us.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

2 thoughts on “Here’s why we should read old books

  1. Thank you for this article; i love reading old books that are about godly men and women. They are so inspiring. God bless you always!


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