Too Often a Sign or Title Gazer

In the preface to his treatise The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, John Owen remarked, “Reader, if thou art as many in this pretending age, a sign or title gazer, and comest into books as Cato into the theatre, to go out again — thou hast had they entertainment: farewell.”

While Owen was certainly speaking to the difficulty of reading and comprehending this work, his words, read afresh this morning, did strike me in a new way as a challenge not only to reading the books that a buy, but giving to them the due diligence and stewardship of my mind and considerations.  Too often I am merely a sign or title gazer.  With this in mind I am spurred once and again by one of my friends, Patrick Schreiner, for it seems that he is always about the Bible and of the actual reading and considering of books.  He is no sign or title gazer.  He is not content to pa rouse the back flap, or thumb through the table of contents, whereupon, if there be anything mighty or theologically powerful in sound, he thinks himself to have become the same.  No, he actually does the hard work of reading, and thus derives from it its joys, lessons, and fat for life.

So, let us give an attentive ear, even a resolving ear to Owen, and take to heart those examples of hearty readers, and we shall be no mere sign or title gazer.  Let us learn and love to think.


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