For a number of reasons, it is good to go back a ways to the older books and preachers to see and hear what they saw and heard from the Lord.
1. It steadies our hearts on the truth of God's Word
One is that we can easily get seasick and dazed in the turbulent waves of our culture of society where we live. Judah Smith once said that "sailors know when they get seasick that they must look to the horizon rather than the waves to steady their stomach. The Word of God is to the Christian, what the horizon is to the sailor." Looking to God's Word and to the ancient's standard of faith steadies our hearts on God's best for our lives.
2. They have left us spiritual gems
Another great reason is to take hold of the spiritual gems of the past generations. They cheer us on with their words and with their lives. (see Romans 12:1).
3. Each generation must rediscover spiritual principles
Another is that each generation must learn again for themselves the spiritual principles that God has set in motion. We do not inherently recieve these blessings until we rediscover them for ourselves.
One great principle from the past is to "break up the fallow ground" of our hearts. Old Charles Finney books on revival speak to this principle. Finney quotes Hosea 10:12 and explains how we don't wait for revival, instead revival waits for us. God has laid out specific requests of us in Scripture, that when we tap in to, we can recieve the blessings and favor of God in new ways.
"Break up the follow ground" is one of these exhortations of the Lord, which specifically means to "break up your hearts. Sometimes your heart becomes matted down, hard and dry and fallen to waste. It will bear no fruit until it is broken up, readied to receive the Word of God. It is this softening of the heart, making it feel the truth, which the prophet calls 'breaking up your fallow ground.'" (Finney, Lectures on Revival, p. 29). Finney lays out many ways that we can undo this hard-hearted-ness. For me, this has often meant to go back and recall people that have offended us in small ways, and that we have been frustrated with and to do our part to reconcile, forgive and bless those who have cursed us. It also means to not accept our sinfulness as acceptable, but rather to recall all the small ways we may have disobeyed God and repent of these and recommit our hearts to His path, with His strength and grace.
Everytime we do this breaking up of the hard ground that is building up in our hearts, we reclaim multitudes of spiritual benefits that await us. God is waiting to give us so many blessings as we respond to His Word. "Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!" (Psalm 68:19).