. . . Why do the majority of present day Christians prefer shallow religious fiction? Or uninspired Bible talks that never get beyond the "first principles"? Or one-page daily devotions? Or watered-down Christian biography? . . . . . . present day evangelical Christianity is not producing saints. The whole concept of religious experience has shifted from the transcendental to the utilitarian. God is valued as being useful and Christ appreciated because of the predicaments He gets us out of. He can deliver us from the consequences of our past, relax our nerves, give us peace of mind and make our business a success. The all-consuming love that burns in the writings of an Augustine, a Bernard or a Rolle is foreign to the modern religious spirit. Like understands like and fails to comprehend what is unlike itself. The tortoise finds the mockingbird dull. Esau has no fellowship with Jacob. "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).
To come to our devotions straight from carnal or worldly interests is to make it impossible to relish the deep, sweet thoughts found in the great books we are discussing here. We must know their heart-language, must vibrate in harmony with them, must share their inward experiences or they will mean nothing to us. Because we are too often strangers to their spiritual mood, we are unable to profit by them and are forced to turn to one or another form of religious entertainment to make our Christianity palatable enough to endure.