Influence Of Worldly Reading.

I WISH to speak freely to my young friends

on this subject; and I am particularly desirous 

to do so, because I know from my own 

experience that it is of no trifling consequence.

 And while we live in such a solemn hour, just 

when the last echo of mercy is dying away, and

 Satan is especially busy in every possible way

 to draw the mind from God, and prevent us from

 securing the salvation of our souls, how 

carefully we ought to watch lest he should in

 some way  get an advantage, and lead us 

astray, even  before we are aware of it. Feeling

 grateful for  the mercy that has opened my eyes

 to one of the fatal snares that had been laid for

 my feet, I am anxious, as far as in my power, to

 caution my young brothers and sisters, lest they

 be overtaken in a similar fault It is in regard to 

reading such books as may indeed charm and

 captivate the mind, but which do not tend to

 make us more spiritual, or better prepared to

 endure the trials, and overcome the temptations

 that we meet with from day to day A little 

sketch of my own experience on this point, 

will best express what I would say.

I had naturally a fondness for reading of 

almost any kind, but especially for romance

And anything in the form of a story, seemed

perfectly irresistible. But for some years after

I gave my heart to God, the only reading

allowed myself, was the Bible and strictly 

religious  books. In the Christian experience of

such eminently holy persons as Mr. and Mrs.

Fletcher, I greatly delighted, and never read 

them without more earnestly desiring to be, as

 they were, conformed to the image of Christ, 

and a fuller determination to overcome, as they


But as time passed on, and I began to

leave my first love, I gradually grew less and

 less strict, and indulged my natural taste for

 reading more freely. Poetry, I regarded as a gift

 so Divine, that I was fully at liberty to read 

whateverI met with in that dress. But in this I

erred; for the highest and noblest gifts may be

perverted to a bad use. And then, I reasoned,

there could possibly be no harm in reading some

of the beautifully written tales that appear in

Magazines, &c., especially as many professing

Christians were engaged in their publication, and

some, in whose piety and superior judgment I

had great confidence, encouraged such reading

in their families. At first I trembled lest it was

wrong; but at length persuaded myself that it

was not only right, but really necessary for the

improvement of the mind. I determined, however,

that my first business should be to serve

God, that I would on no account neglect my

Bible, and would be very careful that such 

reading did not engross too much of my 


But I soon found that in this respect, my power

of self-denial was gone, and many, many 

precious hours were wasted, that, should have

 been spent storing my mind with the treasures

 of heavenly wisdom. But what was its effect 

upon my spiritual life? Nothing indeed was 

farther from my mind than the idea of giving up

 any part of the truth, or of joining with the world

 again. But where was that sweet communion 

with God that I once enjoyed in my closet, and

 my love for his holy Bible? Alas! It had been 

neglected, or if I read it daily, its sweetness was

 gone, and I tremble to think how often I knelt

 before the Lord with my mind so excited from 

unprofitable reading, that I hardly realized what 

I was doing. Where was that trembling 

conscientiousness that made me so carefully

 question my conduct, lest some of my ways 

should be displeasing to God? Then, though I had

 many evil things to overcome, there was 

something within, that was continually stirring

 me up to a holy life; but now, that too, was 

gone, and though deeply sensible of the change,

 and constantly mourning over it, I was yet 

unwilling to admit that the change in my reading

 habits had much to do with it. I believed I could

 enjoy religion and still indulge in these things, 

and many were the resolutions that I formed to

 be more watchful, more earnest and faithful in

 secret prayer, and to live nearer to God; but all

appeared fruitless and vain. If at times I 

experienced a measure of the blessing of God, it

seemed to vanish like the morning cloud, and

the early dew. Indeed, what effort can restore

greenness to the leaf, while the worm is suffered

to remain at the root? But the Lord was

long-suffering, and at length, through his 

abounding mercy, I was led to see the snare of

 Satan into which I had fallen; and it became the

 language of my heart:

"The dearest idol I have known,

Whate'er that idol be;

Help me to tear it from thy throne,

And worship only thee."

I then resolved that, by the grace of God, I

would no longer indulge a taste and inclination

so destructive to vital godliness. That my 

reading should be selected with reference to the

 glory of God and the best interest of my soul. I

would in this manner waste no more of the 

golden moments that were still left now to 

prepare for heaven; but would bear in mind that

 I must give an account of them all to God, and

 that I was not at liberty to please myself, but

 should please Him who purchased me with his

 own blood.

Though this resolution may be severely tried,

and the power of temptation is strong, I rely

 upon the promise of the Lord for strength to overcome.

Thus far it is easier than I anticipated, for

I taste once more the preciousness of a 

Saviour's love. Again he meets me in the closet,

 and it seems easy to part with all beside. But

 never again can I rest without the assurance of

 my acceptance with him. How good and how

 merciful God has been, my tongue can never


But at times I can realize "and feel it,” in

some degree at least; and the thought of grieving

him again is more sad than the thought of

death. O, I do love him, and I long to love him


The evil effects of such reading as is here

 referred to, are many; but one in particular I 

noticed upon myself. Men and women of the

world, without one particle of the spirit of true

 religion are made to appear as real Christians,

 and represented as far less human than divine;

 and,as we read, they become in our minds, 

models of excellence, and worthy of all 

imitation, and we, look no higher. Thus the 

standard of piety is lowered to the very dust, 

and ere we are aware of it we become just like 

the world. We may think we can read without

 being influenced by it, but it is not so. We shun

 our former associates, because we fear the 

influence of their worldly spirit; but worldly 

books are no less dangerous companions, and 

should be as carefully avoided. Perhaps some of

 my young friends may find in this little sketch, 

a record of their own experience,  though I hope

 not, many. Yet we are exposed to similar 

temptations, and may be overtaken

in the same snare; so that the fall of one

should admonish the others, and we may each,

perhaps, expose some device of the enemy, and

in this way be helpers to each other. I rejoice

that, though we have such an artful and mighty

foe to contend with, our God is wiser and 

stronger than he, and has promised to deliver us 

if we trust in him. Jesus has overcome, and we

 too may overcome, and with him inherit all 

things.My dear young brothers and sisters, let us

 look heaven-ward. Glory, glory unspeakable is

 there, and it may all be our own. Let us never 

for one moment think it hard to part with the, 

pleasures and enjoyments of this vain, perishing

world; but rather rejoice that we are permitted

in any degree to deny ourselves for the sake of

the friendship of Jesus, and have respect unto

the recompense of reward. It is only when we

lose sight of the glorious things that God has

prepared for those who love him, that this world

possesses any attractions for us. I feel like

leaving it all behind, and pressing forward to

grasp the everlasting prize. We leave nothing

that will be of any value to us in the "day for

which all other days were made." Let us 

remember this, and employ our time in such a

way as will appear to our advantage then. Let

us make the Bible our heart's best treasure, and

our book of study, and its sacred truths will

sanctify us, its precious promises be our joy 

even in the midst of grief, and its holy precepts 

guide us safely through to our Father's kingdom.

Paris, Me., Dec. 5th, 1853. 


 Rules For The Young

DEAR children, while you sojourn here,

Be these three rules your guide;

Your great Creator love and fear,

And nothing fear beside.

Do unto others as you would

That they should do to you:

For evil, rendering only good;

For railing, blessings too.

No action do, however concealed,

Which you would blush to own;

Remembering all shall stand revealed

Before the judgment throne.

Thus pure and blessed your lives shall prove,

And through eternity,

A God of holiness and love,

Your great reward shall be.