What would you think of a wretch who, during a great storm, while the ship was being tossed to and fro on the angry waves, should climb up into the light-house and blow out the light? And what do you think of these men, who, while all the Christian and the glorious institutions of the world are being tossed and driven hither and thither, are trying to climb up and put out the only light of a lost world?
The bad newspaper stops not at publishing the most damaging and unclean story. The only question is: “Will it pay?” And there are scores of men who, day by day, bring into the newspaper offices manuscripts for publication which unite all that is pernicious; and, before the ink is fairly dry, tens of thousands are devouring with avidity the impure issue. Their sensibilities deadened, their sense of right perverted, their purity of thought tarnished, their taste for plain life despoiled—the printing-press, with its iron foot, hath dashed their life out! While I speak, there are many people, with feet on the ottoman, and the gas turned on, looking down on the page, submerged, mind and soul, in the perusal of this God-forsaken periodical literature; and the last Christian mother will have put the hands of the little child under the coverlet for the night, before they will rouse up, as the city clock strikes the hour of midnight, to go death-struck to their prayerless pillows.
One of the proprietors of a great paper in this country gave his advice to a young man then about to start a paper: “If you want to succeed,” said he, “make your paper trashy, intensely trashy,—make it all trash!”
Brilliant advice to a young man just entering business!
It is very often that, as a paper purifies itself, its circulation decreases, and sometimes when a paper becomes positively religious, it becomes bankrupt, unless some benevolent and Christian men come up to sustain it by contributions of money and means. But few religious newspapers in this country are self-supporting. The reason urged is—the country cannot stand so much religion! Hear it! Christian men and philanthropists!
Many papers that are most rapidly increasing to-day are unscrupulous. The facts are momentous and appalling. And I put young men and women and Christian parents and guardians on the look-out. This stuff cannot be handled without pollution. Away with it from parlor, and shop, and store! There is so much newspaper literature that is pure, and cheap, and elegant; shove back this leprosy from your door.
Mark it well: a man is no better than the newspaper he habitually reads.
You may think it a bold thing thus to arraign an unprincipled printing-press, but I know there are those reading this who will take my counsel; and, in the discharge of my duty to God and man, I defy all the hostilities of earth and hell!