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mentality to submit to such a God, and cordially embrace such : gospel; while the view of God and man advocated in this sermon, is alluring multitudes to become religious. A word to the wise is sufficient.
I will close this letter with a few short reflections.
1. How great is the power of Satan! He was able to occasion the fall of man, and make the system, which God had devised, unspeakably worse than it might and would otherwise have been.
2. How awful is the power of man! “ Had creatures done what they could, there had been more holiness and less sin.” Yea there might have been no sin at all. There might have been no war in heaven, and nothing but peace upon earth-no state prisons-no devil-no hell. God has done as well as it was possible for him to do, and saved all he could, consistently with the moral agency of men, But in respect to the number that will ever arrive at heaven, according to the poet,
“ Heaven but permits, almighty, man decrees,
5. How perfectly and infinitely blessed wilt God forever be! Though he will be doomed forever to contemplate a system infinitely better than the present one; and continually behold the irreparable and unspeakable injuries which Satan and wicked men had done, and forever will do, to his system ; still he will have this jox to support and happify him, that he has prevented all the sin he could, consistently with the will of Satan, and "almighty man."
4. This subject reflects light upon the subject of prayer ; which. we see has never before been well understood, especially by the most pious and orthodox saints. I have indeed heard a report, that a Newlight once prayed, “ O Lord, convert all the sinners in this great assembly which you possibly can.” And this phraseology we now see to be correct. Instead of saying, “ O Lord, if it be consistent with thy will,” &c. we should say, “O Lord, if it be consistent with the will of“ almighty man,” and of the great deceiver, and within the compass of thy power, change the hearts of these persons, and make them thine!
5. How much needs to be instantly done, to eradicate the errors of books and of men. The book that accidentally lies on my table
, has the following errors, which need to be refuted: "God is holy, and he commands all his accountable creatures to be holy. He loves holiness and abhors sin, and was able to prevent it. He could have foreborne to create, whom he foresaw would rebel; or he was able to keep them from falling.” But I have already written a longer letter than I at first intended. I have only given you a few briel hints, and in doing this, I have spoken as unto wise men, judge
ye what I say." I must now close, and with greeting and sincere affection, subscribe myself, your friend and
BROTHER JONATHAN. P. S. In mentioning the interesting advantages of this view of things, I forgot to remind you that on this plan, the wretched and miserable inhabitants of the world of woe may take a little comfort. And we certainly should be willing to give the poor devil his due. Though his joy will not be of the nature of consolation; yet will he not be able to take some delight in view of the irreparable injury which he has done to heaven's high King?
Rise, crown'd with joy, imperial Satan rise ;
TIIE THEATRE. [As the subject of the following piece excites considerable attention at the present tiine, we readily admit it: and as an apology for some phrases, which may be thought too explicit for polite ears, we subjoin the following pithy observations of J. Collier : “As good and evil are different in themselves; so they ought to be differently inarked. To confound them in speech, is the way to confound them in practice. Ill qualities ought to have ill names, to prevent their being catching - To treat honour and infamy alike, is an injury to virtue.-To compliment vice, is but one remove from worshipping the Devil."-Editor.]
The Theatre has been recommended as a school of morals, until the company
of those who have been ruined by it has become too large to be passed by unnoticed. Clothed in rags, they stand at the corners of the streets and ling i around the bar-rooms. They prey upon the community, they throng our prisons and work-houses, and cast a blight over every green thing. These dead are living witnesses against the Theatre, for there they began their downward
But still there are a few men, and but a few, who persist in calling the Theatre a school of morals. And if you press them for proofs, they will always tell you of the man who was brought to reflect upon his wicked ways, and to forsake them, by witnessing the performance of George Barnwell. This is the only instance we ever heard mentioned of a man's becoming better by going to the Theatre. This man, they say, became a good man, an eminent Christian, a minister of the gospel; and he received his first impressions at the Theatre! It may be so. And there are other bad places in which men have become alarmed at the sight of their own wickedness. Doubtless, this man advised all his hearers to visit, without delay, this place so favourable to piety! But where are the men whose morals have been bettered by constant attendance on theatrical amusements? Go back to the time when the immortal Shakspeare lent the aid of his powerful mind to the cause, and cull out those whose moral characters were made better by the representation or the reading even of his plays. Bring out those who from that day to this, have been saved by the Theatre. Where are they? I see the dead, the twice dead of other ages, coming up to unite themselves with those of the present generation, who have been ruined by the Theatre. What a multitude! Look at them and hear their testimony. “O the Theatre, the Theatre, that was the beginning of our course. They told us it was a school of morals, a place of innocent amusement; but they lied, for the votaries of fashion and pleasure were there. And the wily and shameless harlot was permitted, yea invited to come and spread her net there, for the simple. There, we were all taken and destroyed.”
But there are few, as I said, who now plead for the good moral tendency of the Theatre. It has of late become only a place of innocent amusement. And who so bigoted, as to deprive the community of an innocent amusement? It is called one of those harmless recreations, which a kind Providence has bestowed upon us, to enliven a tedious hour and excite our drowsy powers to increased action and higher attainments. In considering this position, perhaps it would be well to enquire, what is the character of those, who think the Theatre an innocent amusement? Ask the ministers of the gospel; their opinion is certainly entitled to some considera tion-ask them what they think of it? Ask them to recommend the Theatre, from the pulpit, as a place of innocent amusement, wisely adapted to the wants of our natures. Ask them to thank God in their public prayers, that he has graciously given us such a place of innocent recreation. They would think you mad. Look over the neighbourhood in which you live ; select the man, who in your estimation is the most holy; and ask him. Go to the pious father-and after you have heard him at the family altar supplicate the blessing of God upon his children, that they may be delivered from temptation--ask him, what he thinks of the Theatre? Bring together all the ministers of the gospel-all pious fathers and mothers who have mourned over ruined children-all brothers and sisters who have wept over lost brothers and sisters-and all the lost themselves,
wbo trace their destruction back to this place of innocent amusementa bring them all together and ask them what they think of the Theatre?—Their answer is heard in the warnings of the wise and the sighs of the broken-hearted.—But the advocates of the Theatre will say,
“ We prefer to decide for ourselves, what amusements are inpocent. We want no priestly interferences, or religious cant. We are not to be governed by another man's belief. If you would convince us, you must do it by fair reasoning.” It is certainly indicative of a bad cause, to undervalue or despise the opinion of the good and the experienced. —But, we will let that pass, and attend to a few arguments, which have satisfied our minds upon this subo
In the first place, That cannot be an innocent amusement which tends to intemperance. Within the walls of the Theatre, bar-rooms are kept, which bring great gain to the proprietors. They reason thus: A large proportion of those who visit the Theatre, are accus. tomed to the daily use of ardent spirits; and if we do not offer them facilities to the gratification of this habit, they will not patronise our establishment. Our business is to please the public. If there were no bar-rooms in the Theatre, and no grog-shops in its neighbourhood, the cry would be, " Rum or no play! Brandy or no play!” The managers are perfectly aware of this, and have concluded to give their patrons what they like best, regardless of consequences. In this way the Theatre has become a manufactory of drunkards.
In the second place, That amusement cannot be innocent, which tends to extravagance in dress. If the mirror and the toilet could testify, they would tell of hours and days spent in preparing to shine at the play.
And then the expense. If it had been given to the poor and the sick, it would nave rejoiced the widow's heart, and restored the flush of health to the faded cheek.
Thirdly, The Theatre is a place, where nature is overacted where false notions are instilled into the mind where vice is held up to applause, and virtue degraded-where religion is ridiculedwhere vile and immodest inuendoes are thrown out, in order to please the most worthless portion of the community. Think, too, of the waste of time. What if religious meetings were held five evenings in a week, until 11 o'clock at night, and after breaking up, the company formed themselves into smaller circles, in different neighbourhoods, and then read and prayed, and sung and conversed on religious subjects, until two or three in the morning-How would the cry of extravagance and fanaticism ring throughout the country? The papers of the day would be loaded with complaints; the husband and the wife would be separated; the peace of families would be broken up. What if the anxiety to attend a meeting for religious purposes, were as great as the anxiety to hear a favourite performer upon a benefit-night? What if the anxious should throng around the doors of our churches, as some do around the ticket-office, and should
cry, “ what shall we do,” with a feeling as deep as theirs? Surely the world would be turned upside down.
Finally, That amusement cannot be innocent, which tends to lasçiviousness. It is a fact, not to be concealed, that the company of lewd women is expected and desired, at the Theatre. A place is assigned them, so prominent, that every body can see it. It has been said, and it is undoubtedly a fact, that tickets of admission, free of all expense, are sometimes sent by the managers to these abandoned wretches. The freedom of the Theatre has been conferred upon them, in consideration of their important and highly acceptable services !--Oth
ers must pay for the privilege of witnessing the performance; bat the abandoned go for nothing. And how is this? Are harlots so necessary to this innocent amusement? Are they a part of the corps theatrical? Doubtless they contribute their full share of interest. Enough, however, has been said, respecting the innocence of that amusement which calls into exercise the worst passions of our nat
But some may say, “ we do not go to the Theatre because the drunkard and the dissolute are there.” Perhaps not. But such men and such women are there; and they will have an influence on you. II you would instilinto the minds of your daughters, the virtue of chastity, would you have them spend half their evenings in a brothel? Virtue is not so deeply imbedded in our nature, as to render it safe to rush into temptation.
The youth pants to break away from the drudgery of the farm. He thinks himself too feeble to drive the plow and swing the scythe; 1: and his sond parents are willing to believe it. “ Farming (say they) 2:0 is poor business. Those who follow it must work hard for a scanty subsistence, and we would be glad that our son might rise abore the common level of a clown.” The youth goes to his labour with a tardier step. He thinks it a hard case that he is doomed to cultivate the same old field, and never lose sight of the smoke of his father's chimney, while some of his acquaintance can enact the gentleman, and perambulate, “ with stately step” the streets of the metropolis. At length, his parents conclude, that their son was never made for a farmer, and consent that he should go to the city to seek his fortune. He goes with a light heart, and embraces the first opportunity of employment. His master is called a respectable merchant; and his parents rejoice in the good fortune of their
A respectable merchant he is called; but he is a profane suocar-
He gains the
He visits the bar-room, and learns to call for his glass with
There is no way of escape. He is in the hands of a mon-