There is no end of books, and yet we seem to need more every day. There was such a darkness brought in by the fall, as will not thoroughly be dispelled till we come to heaven; where the sun shineth without either cloud or night. For the present, all should contribute their help according to the rate and measure of their abilities. Some can only hold up a candle, others a torch; but all are useful. The press is an excellent means to scatter knowledge, were it not so often abused.
All complain there is enough written, and think that now there should be a stop. Indeed, it were well if in this scribbling age there were some restraint. Useless pamphlets are grown almost as great a mischief as the erroneous and profane.
Yet ’tis not good to shut the door upon industry and diligence. There is yet room left to discover more, above all that hath been said, of the wisdom of God and the riches of his grace in the gospel; yea, more of the stratagems of Satan and the deceitfulness of man’s heart. Means need to be increased every day to weaken sin and strengthen trust, and quicken us to holiness.
Fundamentals are the same in all ages, but the constant necessities of the church and private Christians, will continually enforce a further explication. As the arts and slights of besieging and battering increase, so doth skill in fortification. If we have no other benefit by the multitude of books that are written, we shall have this benefit: an opportunity to observe the various workings of the same Spirit about the same truths, and indeed the speculation is neither idle nor unfruitful.
Thomas Manton [1620–1677] From a preface found in, The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes Volume Three, (James Nichol, 1862), pg 3, some formatting added.