On Reading Fiction.

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 10
I FEEL pressed to write you a word expressing my thankfulness that you have taken up the subject in your November number— "What should I read?"—a subject which should be well weighed by those who desire to answer to the prayer of the apostle, "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." I have for a long time been impressed with the deep importance of this. In a family which I once knew bright and happy in the Lord, but where evil and consequent sorrow came in, the first symptom I perceived of spiritual decline was light literature lying about the rooms. The difficult times mentioned in Timothy are on us, and the Word of God is what alone will shed its light on our path. I have been much struck with Phil. 4:88Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8). It takes up the subject of what my thoughts should be upon, and the first word is, "Whatsoever things are true." This entirely strikes at the root of all fiction—even though, as it is now, a little of the gospel is thrown into it. The enemy has clothed the fiction with a religious garb, and made it cheap too. Still it is fiction, and the essence of fiction is that it is unreal and untrue. A young Christian would shrink from reading what is impure or thinking over it; but both are forbidden in this verse, and the injunction that my thoughts are to be on what is true comes first. I draw attention to this as the verse is so often misquoted.
As a rule, the commandments, and ordinances of the Old Testament were of a negative character, "Thou shalt not," but in Deut. 6:66And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (Deuteronomy 6:6) I find an exception: "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Constant occupation with the law of God was enjoined on the children of Israel, so that there might be no room for anything foreign to it. And shall there be a lower standard for us whose calling is heavenly? God forbid it should he so.
May the Lord stir up the hearts of the saints both young and old, that the following verse may be a deep reality with them: "Whom have I in heaven but Thee.? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee." If that were true of us, then every thought would be brought into captivity unto the obedience of Christ, and there would be an entire farewell to all light reading, so absorbed should we be with Him on whom our desire is set.
I am, dear brother,
Yours affectionately in the Lord,