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my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
And now, my dear young friends, I have endeavoured once more faithfully and affectionately to admonish you upon this subject. It now remains for you to determine how you will act. My object is not to defend an opinion, or to vindicate myself; had I no higher motive, no more important end than this, I would not subject myself to the censure, or the scorn, or the misrepresentation which I may be bringing upon myself. My desire and aim is to keep you back from sin and danger. Would to God that I could persuade you, fully and for ever, to abandon this and every other “unclean thing," upon right principles! Oh, that I might be the instrument of bringing you from this time to cry unto God, “My Father, Thou art the guide of my youth !" Oh, that you might now begin to seek in sincerity to be brought into that blessed state of relation and union with God, which is promised in the text; that you would begin to seek it by the exercise of a simple and entire faith in Christ; accompanied by an honest determination, by God's help, to separate yourselves from all evil; and to yield yourselves to Him, to be his servants, and to have your fruit unto holiness.“ Then might I hope to meet you with joy in the presence of your reconciled Father; and to rejoice with you for ever and ever in the heavenly Jeru
you are still
salem, the happy home of all “the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty." And for this, “all hail reproach and welcome shame !''
And now, my dear young friends, how will you decide? Will you still do wickedly? Some of you perhaps may do so; and what does this show? Why only that you neither are nor care to be the children of God; that children of disobedience; children of wrath; and how soon or how suddenly that wrath may come upon you, none can tell. It was during this very year, that on an alarm taking place at a Theatre in a neighbouring county, not fewer than six young persons, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, lost their lives; and they went, from the dissipation, and profligacy, and profaneness of a play-house into the presence of a righteous, and, as it is to be justly feared, an angry God. And who can assure you that this will not be your case, if, notwithstanding all the warnings you have received, and the convictions of your own minds, of which I think you must be conscious, you will dare to go on still in this wickedness? But I would hope better things of you; I trust you will not yield to temptation, but that you will be enabled to resist every enticement with that consideration, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” and that it will henceforth be your steadfast desire, and aim, and prayer, that you may become God's children, and continue his for ever.
EPHESIANS vi., 10, 11, 12, 13.
Finally, my Brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
BEFORE any man is admitted, by the Bishops of our Church, into the sacred order of the Priesthood, a solemn exhortation, of which the following forms a part, is addressed to him :-“Have always therefore printed in your remembrance how great a treasure is committed to your charge. For they are the sheep of Christ, which he bought with his death, and for whom he shed his blood. The Church and congregation whom you must
serve, is his Spouse, and his Body. And, if it shall happen, the same Church, or any member thereof, do take any hurt or hindrance, by reasons of your negligence, ye know the greatness of the fault, and also the horrible punishment that will ensue.”
My dear Brethren, the ministry which I am called to exercise amongst you, is an office of such responsibility as this.-If therefore I had at any time good reason to conclude that any of you were in especial danger, from any particular cause,
of taking “hurt'' or “hindrance," and I wilfully failed to warn you against that danger, I should be deliberately exposing myself to the “horrible punishment that will ensue" to those who shall stand before God, with the guilt of their ministerial negligence and unfaithfulness upon their heads.
Now, I do verily in my conscience believe, that the Theatre and its performances are such, that you could scarcely fail to “ take hurt or hindrance" by attending upon them. The Theatre is a place which abounds with those things which are directly calculated to ruin the soul; and throws in the way of those who frequent it, the most fearful impediments to their salvation. Many, by their attendance on these amusements, have fallen into temptation and a snare, and into those hurtful lusts which, there is too much reason to apprehend, drowned them in destruction and perdi
or if by especial mercy, they were not finally ruined, they sowed the seeds of much fu ture suffering, and “pierced themselves through with many sorrows." I have therefore felt it to be my bounden duty, my dear Brethren, to warn you, from year to year, against these dangers.I have done it plainly and expressly, because I considered the Theatre to be an evil against which I could not bear a testimony too unequivocal and direct; and I have done it at the opening of your own Theatre, as being the time when such a warning must be most seasonable, and most likely to be productive of its intended effect. I could not be unaware that some unhappy consequences would probably result from such an attempt ;that it might excite prejudice, and provoke opposition ;-and that it might lead in some instances, to more determined efforts for the support of the evil against which my admonitions were directed. But all this, although greatly to be deplored, could not in the least degree affect the question of my own duty. Our blessed Saviour, when pointing out the consequences which would follow the preaching of the Gospel, said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth ; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household."