Effects of Reading Novels

Too MUCH  can  hardly be  said  against  a 

practice  so  pernicious  in  its  results.  As 

one  who  has seen  and felt its  evil  influence, 

I would  offer  a  few words  of  warning,    

especially  to  the  young  and  unsuspecting, 

against  falling  into  a habit  so  bewitching, 

and  yet so  detrimental  to  their  best  good. 

The  world  has  become  so  flooded  with 

light  and  sensational  literature  that  the 

young are  pretty sure  to  be  ensnared,  unless 

they understand its  evil  tendency,  and 

have  a  fixed  principle  to  let  it  alone.  I 

will  try to  show some  of  the  evil  effects  of 

this kind of reading.

Novel  reading  acts  upon  the  mind  as 

stimulants  do  upon  the  nerves.  Stimulation 

is followed by depression  and  languor. 

So  the  intoxication  of the mind is succeeded 

by  a  corresponding  depression  of  spirits 

and  disinclination for  mental  labor.  How 

many fine  intellects  have  been  irreparably 

injured,  if  not  totally ruined,  by  this    

fascinating,  mind-destroying practice.

Reading  merely for  amusement weakens 

the powers  of  the mind,  and renders  it  in- 

capable of strong concentrated  effort.  The 

thoughts are scattered and changeable,  and 

soon  weary  of  continued  mental  labor. 

Thus,  solid,  substantial  reading  soon  be- 

comes  distasteful  and  insipid;  the  mind  is 

constantly  on  the  stretch  for  excitement, 

and  will  not be satisfied with sober  history, 

or plain matter-of-fact  philosophy.

And not  only so,  but  the  sober  realities 

of  life,  the  daily  recurring  duties;  the 

monotonous round of  cares,  trials,  and   

perplexities incident to  this mortal state, seem 

more  grievous  and  unbearable,  after  reveling 

in  the voluptuous  dreams  of  the  novelist. 

The  blessings  so  lavishly  showered 

around us  by  an  Almighty hand  are  overlooked 

and  undervalued.  The  poor,    

infatuated  dreamer  is  constantly  looking 

ahead  for  something  out  of  his  reach. 

Like  the mirage  of  the  desert,  it bewilders, 

fascinates,  tempts,  and  deceives  him,  but 

never brings sweet  content or lasting


And  this  is  not  all.  The  judgment,  not 

yet  matured  by  experience,  is  warped  and 

blinded by these false  and  glaring  pictures 

of life.  The inconsistent  and  exaggerated 

views of lore and marriage, which are

 engendered by those bewildering romances, 

 is no  doubt  a fruitful source  of  many unwise 

 and  unhappy  unions.  Reason  and  judgment 

are laid  aside;  impulse  and fancy  alone  are 

consulted.  The  poor  victims  of  a  foolish 

infatuation wake  up  to find  their idols  clay, 

and life  a stern  reality,  without strength or 

fortitude to bear its ills and sorrows.  Pure,

unselfish  love,  with  mutual forbearance for 

each  other's  faults,  they  know  nothing 

about.  The splendid air-castles they built 

have  vanished  into  air;  and  so  great  is

their disappointment that they overlook, and 

forget to  be  thankful for, the blessings  they 

actually  possess.

But the worst feature of all is,  the spiritual 

apathy induced  by reading these foolish 

stories.  The  mind  loses  all  relish  for  the 

Bible, and  for  sacred  things.  The  moral 

sensibilities become blunted.  The influence 

of  the  Spirit  of  God  is  effectually warded 

off.  It is  impossible for  the  mind  to  take 

hold  of  the  solemn  truths  of  the  book  of 

God, and  realize  them  as  they  should  be 

realized.  The  mind  that  has  so  long  fed 

upon  husks,  and vanity,  and lies,  cannot  all 

at  once  appreciate  sober,  candid  truth; 

much less can it love to dwell upon the plain, 

unvarnished  facts  revealed  in  the  word  of 


As  you  value  eternal  life,  pass  by  the 

chaffy literature of  the  day.  It  may seem 

harmless  and  fascinating,  but  it  lures  to 

destroy.  You may not discover  the  "trail 

of the serpent" in those charmingly written 

pages;  but  I  know  that  the  "bewitching 

spell" shuts out  God, and  Heaven, and  eternity. 

I have felt the power of the  enchantress, 

and I know whereof I affirm.  The    

anguish of mind  I have undergone, the follies I 

have  committed,  the  darkness  of  despair  I 

have  been in,  in  consequence  of  false  ideas 

received  from  reading  novels  when  very 

young,  it  would  be  inexpedient  if  not    

impossible for me  to  describe.

Many  and severe  have been  the  conflicts 

to  overcome  the  evil  habit  since  I undertook

to  be  a Bible  Christian,  and  to  cultivate 

a  love for,  and  interest  in,  the  sacred 

truths  of  God's  holy  Word.  But  I  am 

afraid I never shall  see  and feel  so  vividly 

and  clearly  the  importance  of  the  truth  as 

I should, if  the powers  of my mind had not 

been so  perverted  in  my  youth.  I  regret 

my  folly,  and  would  most  affectionately 

warn  the  young  against  falling  into  the 

pernicious habit. I feel like a bird  escaped 

out  of  the snare  of the fowler.  The 

 providences  of  God have hedged me  in on 

 every hand  and  kept  me  from  falling  into    

irretrievable ruin.  I feel that I am a miracle of 

God's mercy  and providential  care.

Dear  young  friends,  I  understand  the 

temptations  of  youth.  Satan  has  many 

snares for  your  inexperienced  feet.  I feel 

a  deep  interest in  young people.  But I can 

tell you, from sad experience, that the dreams 

and  hopes  of  youth  are  vanity.  You will 

never be  happy while  you  are  dreaming of 

earthly good.  Life is full of trials and   

disappointments.  Discipline  your  minds  to 

meet them bravely.  Above  all things,  give 

your  hearts  fully  to  Jesus;  he is  a  friend 

that sticketh closer than  a  brother.  Upon 

him  you  can lavish  your hearts'  best    

affections,  and  secure  a  friend  that will

  never fail  you.  He is infinitely worthy the

 adoration of  our  hearts.  Oh!  For grace to  

love him  as  we  ought. 


in Review Herald.

WHEN you speak of  God, 

reverence, let  it  be  with.

IT is better to be alone  

than in bad company.