My favorite room to investigate when I visit someone’s home is their library and/or study (provided I’m allowed to do so without being too nosey). I find that such a room says much about a person. My little makeshift study in my home is my favorite room in the house (though it is often hijacked and turned into the laundry room or the Food Network viewing room). Yesterday I wrote about John Baillie’s study. What an amazing place of peace, intimacy with God, study, fellowship and ministry it must have been.
The good folks at The Art of Manliness have put together an impressive list of The Libraries, Studies, and Writing Rooms of 15 Famous Men that you really should take a look at.
And while you’re coveting your neighbor’s library and study, take a look at this list of 14 Famous “Man Rooms,” also put together by The Art of Manliness. And now, if you will please excuse me, I must go and wipe the drool off my keyboard.
Here’s to dreaming dreams and reading good books.
Grace and Truth,
A few of you may have heard of John Baillie. His most popular book is called A Diary of Private Prayer. I have been using it since 1993, almost every morning. It’s a very rich devotional tool that, no matter how often I use it, still draws me closer to the Lord.
I have not read many things by Baillie, but a few years ago I stumbled upon a collection of various sermons he had given throughout the years. They made up a little book entitled, Christian Devotion. I enjoyed reading it, but the best part of the book, for me, was a short biographical chapter written by his cousin. She did a wonderful job revealing the man behind the devotional that I have been using for years.
My favorite part of the chapter was the following description of his study – not just a few facts about what it looked like – but the life that took place in that study. I know coveting is a sin, so let me say in the most sanctified way I can, that I wouldn’t resist the opportunity, should God provide it, to have a similar study (as well as a similar ministry that took place in it!). Here’s his cousin’s description of his study…
But for those who knew him in his own home in Edinburgh, the most vivid memories of John are set in his study there, that grave book-lined room, with windows shadowed in summer by the trees of the big garden. It was a quiet room, with the noises of our modern world kept outside - no telephone, no radio, no typewriter. And it was a room with three clear focal points. There was the big uncluttered desk by the window where John sat for many hours of the day writing, in his clear beautiful handwriting, sermons, lectures, and articles, and dealing
punctiliously and courteously with the endless steam of letters which came, asking him to preach, to lecture, to advise…
And there was, as another focal point, the big leather chair, where he often sat far into the night reading – the innumerable reports and periodicals which came to him from many quarters, the most recent books of theology and philosophy, novels, poetry, biography, all seasoned (like the reading of many theologians) with a reasonable sprinkling of good “detectives.”
From chair or desk he would leap to his feet to welcome his visitors, with the outstretched hand and quick look of real pleasure which tempted them to forget how busy a man he was…. [after a long list of people came to chat with him, she writes...] Missionaries, and church leaders and theologians of many communions came to talk through their problems with him. And old friends and new came just to be warmed by his friendship.
To welcome these many visitors he would start from desk or chair. But there was a third focal point in that quiet room – the prayer desk by the window with its little pile of well-worn versions of the Scriptures and of devotional books. There, at the times when he was sure to be alone, John Baillie read and thought and worshipped. And through that daily, faithful discipline of will and mind and soul, it became true that the great theologian and Church statesman was first and foremost a man holy and humble of heart.
Amen and amen.
Grace and Truth,