The recent reading of a selection of pamphlets and leaflets published roughly from 1939-1965 has led me to think about the thousands of articles published over many decades in the periodicals. A general observation, of one reader at least, is that the older the better--with noteworthy exceptions, of course. Many articles and editorials are, naturally, topical, but Mrs. Eddy never implies, to my knowledge, that writings in the periodicals are transitory or have an intrinsically limited shelf-life. Some of the fine articles written in response to WW's I and II, for example, are still helpful and surprisingly relevant today in our war on cataclysmic economic woes.
On the other hand, many of these thousands of articles from past years are real yawners and seem now, at least, like printed filler material. Those from the Journal, especially, often read like abstract exercises in metaphysics and word spinning. Reading them, the editor's proofreading abbreviation "mego" comes frequently to mind. For me, old Sentinel articles and editorials come more often nearer to the heart.
Two pamphlets illustrate, again for me, this contrast. "A Prophet with Honor" is a splendid collection of three addresses and one article, all unattributed and undated. That these articles uncompromisingly emphasize the necessity for a proper reverence for Christ Jesus and Mrs. Eddy gives them an added relevance, which highlights the shameful Church behavior of recent years. The other pamphlet, "The Pattern of the Mount", contains three articles from the Journal and one from the Sentinel. One of the Journal articles is probably a "classic", yet there is to me an almost dry, academic atmosphere about them. They don't seem to impart the uplifting, fresh inspiration of the writings in "A Prophet with Honor".
So get to the point, you say! Of course, it may all be a question of one's need and preference at the moment, but when one thinks of all those long unread articles from more than a century of writing, he may well wonder what Mrs. Eddy really expected. Even in her own day the writing in the Journal and the Sentinel was frequently found wanting. My conclusion is that we should never venture far from the mother lode of the Bible and writings of Mary Baker Eddy. In fact, we should stick to them like a tick. No matter how inspired and uplifting other writers may be, "nobody does it better" than the Bible and Mrs. Eddy, as a James Bond film theme song says.
Briefly, in response to some comments to the second entry prior to this one, the word "crack" was meant as in "crack army troops", i.e., first rate. The title was just a corny carney's cry to capture the busy reader's attention. A more dull equivalent would have been "the first rate and the third rate". My apologies if that was a little too cute. The idea was that the third rate creeping into our Church has done to it what the same compromises and corner-cutting have done to the world economy.
There was also no attempt in that entry to belittle any reader in any church. It is certain that there are many conscientious and dedicated readers, but it is still felt that the best reading is to an extent undercut by spiritual, ethical, and moral waywardness in a church. Churches are no stronger than the weakest links in their spiritual makeup.