Here’s a little snippet of the Prince of Preachers lecturing about self-education, and the benefit of reading widely:
Having given precedence to the inspired writings, neglect no field of knowledge. The presence of Jesus on the earth has sanctified the realms of nature, and what He has cleansed call not you common. All that your Father has made is yours, and you should learn from it. You may read a naturalist’s journal, or a traveller’s voyage, and find profit in it. Yes, and even an old herbal, or a manual of alchemy may, like Samson’s dead lion, yield you honey. There are pearls in oyster shells, and fruits on thorny boughs. The paths of true science, especially natural history and botany, drop fatness. Geology, so far as it is fact, and not fiction, is full of treasures. History– wonderful are the visions which it makes to pass before you– is eminently instructive; indeed, every portion of God’s dominion in nature teems with precious teachings. Follow the trails of knowledge, according as you have the time, the opportunity, and the peculiar faculty; and do not hesitate to do so because of any apprehension that you will educate yourselves up to too high a point. When grace abounds, learning will not puff you up, or injure your simplicity in the gospel. Serve God with such education as you have, and thank Him for blowing through you if you are a ram’s horn, but if there be a possibility of your becoming a silver trumpet, choose it rather.