WHEREVER YOU FIND a little study circle of Christian laity, you can be almost certain that they are studying not St. Luke, or St. Paul, or St. Augustine, or Thomas Aquinas, or Hooker, or Butler, but M. Berdyaev, or M. Maritain, or Mr. Niebuhr, or Miss Sayers, or even myself.
Now this seems to me topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But I would advise him to read the old. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet. A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light.
– The Joyful Christian