There are but very few newspapers which it is safe to read all through, though we know of one that it is best to peruse from beginning to end, but modesty forbids us stating which one that is. In this day readers need as never before to carry a sieve.
It requires some heroism to say you have not read such and such a book. Your friend gives you a stare which implies your literary inferiority. Do not, in order to answer the question affirmatively, wade through indiscriminate slush.
We have to say that three-fourths of the novels of the day are a mental depletion to those who read them. The man who makes wholesale denunciation of notion pitches overboard “Pilgrim’s Progress” and the parables of our Lord. But the fact is that some of the publishing houses that once were cautious about the moral tone of their books have become reckless about every thing but the number of copies sold. It is all the same to them whether the package they send out be corn starch, jujube paste or hellebore. They wrap up fifty copies and mark them C.O.D. But if the expressman, according to that mark, should collect on delivery all the curses that shall come on the head of the publishing house which printed them, he would break down his wagon and kill his horses with the load. Let parents and guardians be especially watchful. Have a quarantine at your front door for all books and newspapers. Let the health doctor go abroad and see whether there is any sickness there before you let it come to wharfage.
Whether young or old, be cautious about what you read in the newspapers. You cannot day after day go through three columns of murder trial without being a worse man than when you began. While you are trying to find out whether Stokes was lying in wait for Fisk, Satan is lying in wait for you. Skip that half page of divorce case. Keep out of the mud. The Burdell and Sickles cases, through the unclean reading they afforded to millions of people long ago, led their thousands into abandoned lives and pitched them off the edge of a lost eternity. With so much healthful literature of all sorts, there is no excuse for bringing your minds in contact with evil. If there were a famine, there might be some reason for eating garbage, but the land is full of bread. When we may, with our families, sit around the clean warm fire-hearth of Christian knowledge, why go hunting in the ash barrels for cinders?
Short or long pastorates.
The question is being discussed in many journals, “How long ought a minister to stay in one place?” Clergymen and laymen and editors are wagging tongue and pen on the subject—a most practical question and easy to answer. Let a minister stay in a place till he gets done—that is, when he has nothing more to say or do.