[Footnote K: In the Appendix will
be found a list of books, suitable
for the course here recommended.]
As you have never manifested a taste for what is commonly called light reading, it is hardly necessary for me to say anything on the subject. I cannot see how a Christian, who has had a taste of “angel’s food” can relish the miserable trash contained in novels. The tendency of novel reading is most pernicious. It enervates the mental powers, and unfits them for close study and serious contemplation. It dissipates the mind, and creates a diseased imagination. It promotes a sickly sensibility, and renders its votaries unfit for the pursuits of real life. It is a great waste of time, and on this account alone may be regarded as sinful. But I would not advise you to read any books, merely because you can get nothing else; nor because there is nothing bad in them. There are many books which contain nothing particularly objectionable, which, nevertheless, are not the best that can be obtained. There are so many good books, that there is no necessity for wasting your precious time upon crude, ill-digested, or unprofitable works. You may, however, devote some time pleasantly and profitably, to reading the best English classics, both in poetry and prose; which, for the want of a better term, I shall include under the head of Literary, for the purpose of cultivating the imagination, improving the taste, and enriching your style. These should be selected with great discrimination and care, with reference both to their style and their moral tendency. Poetry, to a limited extent, tends to elevate the mind, cherish the finer sensibilities of the heart, and refine the taste.
If you cannot obtain books which furnish you a profitable employment for your hours of leisure, devote them wholly to the study of the Bible. This you always have with you; and you will find it a never-failing treasure. The more you study it, the more delight it will afford. You may find new beauties in it, and “still increasing light,” as long as you live; and after death, the unfolding of its glorious mysteries will furnish employment for a never-ending eternity.
Your affectionate Brother.
Improvement of Time. Present Obligation.
“Remember how short my time is.”—Ps. 89:47.
“To everything there
is a, season, and a time to every purpose
under the heaven.”—Eccl. 3:1.
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”—Eph. 6:16.
“Behold NOW is the accepted time.”—2 Cor. 6:2.