Today’s guest post is from Jana Gering, Project Manager of the Electronic Text Development department.
The teaching pastor at a church I worked for a few years ago asked the staff for stories and ideas about an upcoming sermon dealing with a section of scripture on pride. The first thing to come to my mind was the chapter on pride from C. S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity. I looked up the chapter to find some quotes for my email response; I began by typing out a few of the quotes and ended by transcribing almost the whole of that incredible chapter! Lewis’ pithy writing defies summary, so the email turned out be a list of about 15 lengthy quotes from the chapter. The pastor tried to summarize them, too, but the impact of the text was such that in the end, he posted all of the quotes on slides and discussed them during the sermon.
As the manager of the small bookstore at the church, I can testify that we sold out of all Lewis books and put in many backorders that Sunday. The power of Lewis’ written words struck a note with many who otherwise may never have read them. The power of enduring authors—writers of fiction, playwrights, philosophers, and poets as well as theologians—can add a truly powerful punch to your studies and messages.
Right now, the massive 71-volume Harvard Classics and Fiction Collection, which contains a whopping 33,719 pages of classic writings, is on Pre-Pub for only $99.95. To quote from the product page, “When Charles William Eliot assembled The Harvard Classics, more commonly known as ‘The Five-Foot Shelf,’ and later the ‘Shelf of Fiction,’ he gathered this epic collection of key works which he thought would best represent ‘the progress of man . . . from the earliest historical times to the close of the nineteenth century.’”
While C.S. Lewis’ works are too new to be published in this set, biographies, philosophical and scientific essays, stories, plays, poetry, and whole or excerpted keynote works from throughout history are included:
“Men despise religion; they hate it and fear it is true.” —Pensee 174
“The immortality of the soul is a matter which is of so great consequence to us and which touches us so profoundly that we must have lost all feeling to be indifferent as to knowing what it is. . . .” —Pensee 194
—Blaise Pascal, Pensees
“A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.”
—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“Avarice, envy, pride, Three fatal sparks, have set the hearts of all On Fire.”
—Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”
“Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.”
“A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.”
“Alas! All music jars when the soul’s out of tune.”
Imagine having not only your biblical and theological works at your fingertips through Libronix, but also a complete university course in the history of original authors from ancient times through the 19th century!
French philosopher Étienne Gilson wrote that “history is the only laboratory we have in which to test the consequences of thought.” Secular or religious, fiction or nonfiction, prose or poetry, this classic collection gives insight into the history, culture, art, and consequences of ideas as expressed by the written word. And so, since “Brevity is the soul of wit,” (William Shakespeare in Hamlet), and I’ve already passed up my word count (and probably my wit as well!), I’ll leave you to discover the merits of the collection yourself at the Pre-Pub page.