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force of this conclusion must be felt, I think, by every one here present.
And here, my dear Brethren, you see the reason why those who have a true sense of religion, and exercise right affections towards God, are ever found to
and condemn the Theatre; and hence it is, that the most popular and admired writer of the day, in defending the Stage, is compelled to admit that “CHRISTIANITY, FROM
FIRST ORIGIN, WAS INIMICAL TO THE INSTITUTION
And now, my dear Brethren, I trust I have established the positions which I advanced in the commencement of the discourse, and which it has been my object to impress upon your minds ;that a delight in Theatrical Amusements is incompatible with true blessedness; and that an attendance on 'Theatrical Amusements is likely to prove a sure hindrance to the attainment of true blessedness. If you are convinced of this, may God give you grace to act accordingly.
I do not mean to say, that all who renounce and forsake the Theatre, thereby attain to this “blessedness." I shall not, I think, be so much misunderstood. But I mean to say, that as the whole character of these amusements is directly opposed to the blessedness spoken of in my text, if we would attain to this happy state, we must of necessity renounce the Theatre. If we turn
towards the one, we shall, in so doing, turn away from the other.
But, are there any here present, who, notwithstanding all which has been spoken, are determined within themselves not to make the sacrifice,--not to shun the danger,-not to forsake the evil ?—Who are saying, I love these pleasures, and after them I will go ? One thing must be evident, even to yourselves ; namely, that you are not amongst the number of the “blessed ;” that you can have no pretensions whatever to the character of those who shall “ stand in the judgment,” and be numbered with “the congregation of the righteous ;'-so that, if death were to find you, in your present state, you must" perish" with “the ungodly,” and their dreadful last end must be yours.—And this end may be very near at hand; it may come soon and suddenly; this very night your soul may be required of you. But, should your life be spared, yet after such a deliberate determination, what can you reasonably expect, but that God should abandon you to your wretched choice ? It is a fearful probability that you may be left to ascend the graduated scale of wicked. ness marked out in the first verse of the text;
wax worse and worse ;" till you shall take your place in the seat of the scornful,-not merely as the hearer of other men's impiety, but as the hardened utterer of your own ;- till you shall advance from being a follower of evil counsels,
and a frequenter of evil company, to become an open scoffer at religion; and die with this aggravated guilt upon your heads. May God save you from such a doom! May He give you a better mind! May He incline you and enable you to choose the good part which shall not be taken from you !
LUKE, xvi., 15.
“ For that which is highly esteemed among men,
is abomination in the sight of God."
The description of faithful ministers, given by the Apostle Paul, sets forth in few, but striking words, their duty and their responsibility ; “they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.”
It is in the discharge of this duty, and under a sense of this responsibility, that I have invited your attention from year to year, to the subject of the sinful nature and dangerous tendency of the Amusements of the Stage.
Fully persuaded as I am, that the Theatre is the source of incalculable mischief; that it is the cause of ruin to thousands both in body and soul; —that the interest excited by these amusements is equally powerful and pernicious ;-that their corrupting influence on the morals of society is direct and certain ;—that it is an amusement, which is not evil merely by incidental abuse, or by individual perversion, but that it is evil in its
essential character, and in its attendant circum.
On former occasions, I have availed myself of
opportunity of placing this subject in different points of view, and of bringing forward various arguments for the purpose, through the divine blessing, of convincing and persuading your minds.
I am aware, however, that one of the methods by which such arguments are got rid of, and their