On my homeschooling bookshelf I have a binder that is called, "Masters to Copy." I often look at the binder and think how deceptive that title is, how I wish it were more what it appeared. It is only a book where I keep papers that I tend to want to copy. If it were only a resource to find out about those who most excelled in this life, and how to imitate them! That's what I think of when I view that binder, and what a great thing such a book would be in people's lives.
Today I was reading about Jonathan Edwards, and found that he indeed had a very similar resource to my ideal--he made himself a book of 43 pages, a list of all the writings he had read or would like to read of people whose thinking he admired. With all the time that has passed between the writing of those books and our being able to read them, the language difference might be more of an obstacle to us than it was to Edwards. Still, it seems that it would be a worthwhile pursuit to either attempt to read Edwards' list of resources or create one's own. I'm not sure whether today we'd have as easy a time (not that he did it easily) of compiling a 43-page list of writings in a readable vernacular that would be worth reading...whether for the lack of admirable modern-day writers, or for our ignorance of them. Still, I think it's a project I might pursue. Jonathan Edwards' writings themselves would be a good place to begin: His Religious Affections, and Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, are most famous...but there are various sermons too. I don't know how long that would take.
Our church is very much a reading church, I've found. I've had a number of books handed to me to read, and often found that they support one another in their content--always pointing to our need for full reliance on God, and His full sufficiency. They aren't light and modern reading, but slow and worth pondering; I find myself rolling the thoughts over and over again to really grasp their full meaning. It's interesting how a thought that seems knowable can be restated in such a way that it grabs your attention and makes you realize you didn't know it at all. There are chapters of Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy that I re-read and even having read them find the same thing happens--I learn again in a new way. I think it's because these writers have pondered the Scriptures in a very meditative way and plumbed them to find treasures that few know so well. That is the type of master that I want to copy, the type I want to include in my book--one that points to their Master and mine; as I think of it, I am more compelled to do it--now I need a new binder.