How Will You Be Quoted?
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, is an American reference book that remains the longest-lived and most widely distributed collection of quotations ever assembled. The book was first issued in 1855 and is currently in its nineteenth edition, last published in 2022. John Bartlett, who ran the University Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was frequently asked for information on quotations so he began a commonplace book of them for reference. Bartlett is generally accepted to have drawn the quotations from his own extensive reading and prodigious memory. So, his commonplace book began. The book was so successful that Bartlett issued three more editions before joining the Boston publishing firm of Little, Brown and Company. Bartlett rose to be the senior partner of the firm and supervised nine editions of the work before his death in 1905, the work selling over 300,000 copies.
People from all walks of life were able to look up the immortal sayings of famous and not so famous individuals who left their literary mark on the world since the written word began. Famous lines from books, essays, poems, speeches, words of wisdom and hope and humor, and even the Bible, cover every page, all arranged by the year of citation under the name of the author.
For Mr. Bartlett, a lifetime of work has continued without pause to this day. For people who write a lot, a newer edition needs to be purchased every few years to add all the newer famous quotes the prior editions do not have. My favorite quotes are from Mark Twain: "Be good and you will be lonesome." "Honor is a harder master than law." "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." "Do your duty today and repent tomorrow." “If we knew which babies would grow into famous people, we would worship the very cradles they were rocked in”.
Yep, “this is a book that sits on many shelves”. (2023, Moody, from “Clergy Corner”). There, I’m published!
But Bartlett’s book only fills the head, not the heart. I mostly write to fill the heart, so I listen to my heart more than my head when I write. Therefore, it’s important what I put into my heart. I only have one book that does that, filling my heart more than my head. That book does not sit on my bookshelf, but on my kitchen table and it’s my Bible. I’m it in every day.
The Bible comes with a tutor, the Holy Spirit, to help me understand. Bartlett’s comes with no tutor at all. (Too expensive for Little, Brown, and Co. to supply one with every copy purchased). People who read their Bible every day have found that it’s not a book, but a friend. It’s a direct connection to God, the One who loves us more than anything!
Right about now I would normally cite a great Bible verse and expand on it, you know, just to cement my point. I’m not going to do that today. I want to starve you and keep you hungry for more. I want you to go look up your famous Bible verse that once fed your heart and gave you hope. The risk I take is - will you do it? Does your Bible sit on a bookshelf, or on your kitchen table, nightstand, on the front seat next to you in the car, in your hand as you enter church, or when you visit a friend to share how God most recently spoke to you? “The Lord is my shepherd”. Take time to research what that means. Don’t consult your head or Bartlett’s. Look it up in your heart! Always pray asking God to speak to you before you read the Bible…He will.
I’m glad I was asked to write this, and I’m even gladder that you read this. God’s word (Jesus) loves you more than you could ever love Him back!
Rev. Jack Moody, #355