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adds no strength to the reasoning powers. So far as it has influence at all, it wearies the intellectual faculties; and is attended with all the fatigue, but with no part of the benefit, which is experienced in severe study. It neither sweetens, nor enlivens, the temper. On the contrary, it is a grave, dull, spiritless employment; at which almost all persons lose their cheerfulness, and impair their native sweetness of disposition; in which the temper is soured; and in which gloom and moroseness, and frequently envy and malice, are not only created, but strengthened into immoveable habits. Gamesters, I know, herd together. But it is without good-will, or social feelings; and merely because Gaming makes it necessary. Their minds are engrossed, but not invigorated. Their time is ardently, and anxiously, but not cheerfully, employed. They flock to the Gaming-table, just as the hermit and the thief return to their respective employments; because habit has made these employments necessary to them: although the hermit, if he would make the experiment, would be happier in society; and the thief, as an honest man. All the real pleasure found in Gaming, except that which arises from the love of sin, is found in the acquisition of money; or the ride of victory, and the superior j. or the fortunate chance, rom which it is derived. All these are base and sordid sources of pleasure. Gaming, then, is not an useful, and of course, not a justifiable, amusement. In the mean while, all the time, employed in it, is wasted and lost. This loss is immense. No man can answer for it to his Maker: no man can repair the injury, which is done to himself. It cannot be too often said, nor too strongly realized, that time is the most valuable of all things: since on the proper employment of it depends every blessing, which we are capable of receiving. He, who wastes it, as every Gamester does, is guilty of a prodigality, which cannot be estimated. All men are bound by the most solemn obligations to redeem their time; that is, to make the most profitable use of every day. But Gaming is profitable for nothing. For, if it is useless as an amusement, it is absolutely useless. 2. Gaming is a wanton waste of our Faculties, and Privileges. Every faculty, and every privilege, was given to us, only that we might promote the #. of God, and the real good of ourselves and our fellow-men. From labouring alway to these ends, there is no exemption, and no excuse. Whether ye eat, or drink, saith St. Paul, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God. To him, who by a patient continuance in well-doing, seeks for glory, honour, and immortality, and to him only, is promised eternal life. Our faculties are our understanding, our affections, and our energy. Our privileges are the means of education, knowledge, virtue, usefulness, and enjoyment. But none of our faculties is benefited by
Gaming. The understanding is not enlarged: the affections are not improved: the energy is not invigorated: while all these privileges are, at the same time, abused and thrown away. How t a waste of what mighty blessings is here! How entire a tration of the end of our being! With a due improvement of his faculties and privileges, every man may become wise and virtuous. How incalculable is the difference between such a man, and a Gamester A glorious privilege, the result of all those which have been mentioned, is that of doing our duty. But Gaming is in itself, and in its consequences, an entire omission of all duty. With industry and economy, the whole life of a Gamester is at war. His prime employment cherishes, unceasingly, gross appetites. and gross passions; and forces him to be a stranger to self-government. Into the heart of a man, engrossed by schemes of acquiring the property of his neighbour by the wing of dice, and the shuffling of cards, it is impossible, that benevolence should enter. In acts of beneficence, hands, which have so long been made the instruments of covetousness and plunder, can never be *:::::::: o Gamester was ever a man of piety, so long as he was a Gamester. Of no Gamester can it be said, Behold he prayeth. The very first step towards the assumption of this character must be deep repentance for his gross and guilty life, accompanied by an entire self-abhorrence, offfollowed by a vigorous reformation. 3. Gaming is a wanton and wicked waste of Property. The end, for which our property was given, is the same, to which our faculties and privileges are destined. To this end, to some purpose, really acceptable to God, and really useful to ourselves and others, it can always be applied. There never was a situation in which, there never was a man by whom, all his property could not be devoted to some useful purpose within his reach. But squandering money at the Gaming-table is of no use either to the loser, or the winner. If the loser has common sense; he can take no pleasure in his losses. If the winner has common honesty; he can take no pleasure in his gains. Beside the suffering, involved in his immediate losses, the loser forms a pernicious habit of undervaluing property; and cuts himself off both from doing, and o that good, which the property lost might have procured. Nor is the winner more happily affected. Fo winning often, :*::::: when in straitened circumstances, he soon ac#. full confidence, that he shall win, whenever it is necessary. ence he expends what he has gained on objects of no value. “Male parta male dilabuntur,” is probably a maxim in every nation; and is verified by all human experience. With habits of this nature, we cannot wonder, that Gamesters, such, I mean, as devote themselves to this employment, universally i
become beggars. Wealth, says Solomon, gotten by vanity, is diminished: that is, wealth acquired by vain and dishonest courses of life. Drowsiness, says the same profound observer of human life, and manners, will clothe a man with rags. Drowsiness, here, intends that course of conduct, which, in opposition to the steady energy, and vigorous efforts, of industry, aims at obtaining a subsistence by j and low-minded arts. Such were the facts three thousand years ago. Such are the facts at the present hour. In the whole list of jockeys and sharpers it is rare, in this, and probably in all other countries, that we find a man, possessed of even moderate property. Those, who are most successful, acquire such habits of expense, such expectations of supplying their wants by playing, at any time, and, consequently, such a contempt for economy, and even for common prudence, that they become poor, of course. The old age of a Gamester is the cold and comfortless evening of a forlorn and miserable day. 4. Gaming is the destruction of Character. A good name, says Solomon, is better than great riches, and loving Javour, than silver and gold. A fair, unblemished reputation is one of the chief blessings of man: one of his prime enjoyments; one of his principal means of usefulness. Without it he can obtain neither influence, nor confidence; neither profitable employments, nor real friends. But no Gamester was ever respected, as such. Whatever talents, or advantages, he may otherwise have ossessed, his character has been always sunk by his gaming. ook around the world, and judge for yourselves. You never knew, and therefore never will know, a Gamester, who, in this character, was regarded by his neighbours with esteem. Common sense steadily attaches disgrace to the name. So conscious of this fact are the whole class of Gamesters, that they usually take effectual pains to carry on their wretched employment in scenes of solitude and secrecy, where they are effectually hidden from the eyes of mankind. But who, that possesses common sobriety, or even sanity of mind; who, that is not a fair candidate for bedlam ; would voluntarily destroy the blessings of his own good name? The Slanderer, who blasts the reputation of another, is universally, and justly, regarded with abhorrence. What the slanderer does for another, the Gamester does for himself. The slanderer is a vile and abominable wretch. In what respect is the Gamester less vile and abominable 2 The slanderer is an assassin : the Gamester is a suicide. 5. Gaming is the direct road to many other sins. Every Gamester, with too few exceptions to deserve notice, becomes a sharper, of course. High expectations of .# property suddenly, distressing disappointments, great gains, an great losses instantaneously experienced, strong hopes alternated with strong fears, and holding the mind, habitually, in a state of
anxious suspense, regularly prove too powerful for the honesty of every man, who has not too much virtue to be a Gamester. By what is called fair play he falls of being successful. . A series of ill success tempts him to play unfairly. Ultimately. he is charged with it. He denies it; and is thus guilty of falsehood. The charge is reiterated. He swears to the truth of his denial; and is thus guilty of perjury. His oath is doubted. He becomes angry, profane, and furious; and not unfrequently engages in a quarrel, to vindicate his wounded honour. At times, the dispute is terminated by a duel. In all ordinary circumstances, his affections become sour, and his mind envious at the success of his companions, and malicious towards their persons. At the same time, he is prompted to murmur at his ill-success; to curse what he calls his luck, but what is in truth a dispensation of God; and to adopt a course of profane, blasphemous, and fiend-like language. To close this wretched detail; the Gamester very often terminates his miserable career with drunkenness, and not unfrequently with selfmurder. Who, that is not lost to every hope of virtue; who, that is not lost to common sense and common feeling; can be willing to thrust himself into a course of life, or into the entrance upon a course of life, which presents at the very gate, most formidable temptations to these enormous sins! Who would be willing that a father, a husband, a brother, or a son, should be guilty of these sins, or exposed to these temptations 2 . This question will, probably, never be answered. Will it then be said, that men are found, who love these relations better than themselves? It will not be said. But it must be said, because it is true, that multitudes of men resort to the Gaming-table with an infantine giddiness of mind; a hare-brained spirit of adventure; a greedy avarice; and a treacherous confidence in their own watchfulness against temptation; in that prudent care, which, always seen with microscopic eyes, they consider as abundantly sufficient to secure themselves from every danger. Thus, while the really prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself, these simple, self-deceived beings, pass on, and are punished.
From these considerations it is, if I mistake not, evident beyond debate, that Gaming is a gross fraud; that in many other points of view, it is an enormous sin; and that it is, in an alarming degree, fatal to all the real interests of man. There are, however, persons, who, because they escape some of the dangers, and avoid some of the iniquities, connected with this practice, will flatter themselves, that they are scarcely chargeable with the rest. They may not claim the character of virtue; but they will insist, that their conduct is almost, if not entirely, innocent; and will at least believe themselves, if guilty at all, to be guilty only in a very minute degree. To these persons let me seriously address the following considerations.
In the first place. Gaming is an appearance of evil. .Abstain from all appearance of evil, is a command of the same God, who said, Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart; and is, therefore, armed with the same authority. But every person of piety, and almost every sober man, pronounces Gaming to be an evil. It cannot, therefore, be denied to be an appearance of evil. By the arguments here advanced, it has been shown, unless I am deceived, to be a real, and dreadful, evil. That †man, therefore, is bound to abstain from it, cannot be questioned. Secondly. Every Gamester feels it to be an evil. In all the early parts of his addiction to this course of life, he will find himself frequently employed, if he has any moral principles at all, in devising arguments, and excuses, to quiet his own conscience, and justify himself to others. This is not the conduct of a man, who feels himself innocent. No person ever sought an excuse for prayer; for honest industry; for the pious education of children; or for a faithful attendance on the public worship of God. Most persons, at the Gaming-table, are sensibly disturbed by the unexpected presence of a wise and good man. But such persons create no disturbance in the minds of those, Swho believe themselves to be virtuously employed. Were the * Redeemer of mankind again upon earth; no person, who acknowledged his character, would be willing to be found by him at a Gaming-table. Thirdly. Gaming cannot be prayed for. Nothing can be right, or innocent, for which we cannot pray. In all pursuits, which he believes to be justifiable, every man can without difficulty ask for the blessing of God. But no man, ever asked, no man ever will ask; that is, seriously and solemnly, or in other words, really; for the blessing of God upon the employment of Gaming. But that, which cannot be prayed for, is sinful. Fourthly. Neither Gaming, nor the circumstances which regularly attend it, can be recited at the Day of Judgment. I call upon every Gamester solemnly to consider, whether he will be able to come before the Judge of the quick and the dead, and declare to Him with confidence, or even with hope, that he has spent life, or any part of it, in the business of Gaming. But the conduct, which cannot be rehearsed then, cannot be right now. Who can soberly approve, in this world, of that, which will condemn him in the world to come * * There are many persons, who condemn what is called Gambling, or Gaming for money, and who yet appear to think themselves justified in Gaming for mere amusement. Let me exhort all o persons to remember, that whatever influence this conduct may have upon themselves, it will, as an example, be pernicious to others. Multitudes will know that they game, who will never know that they do not game for money. Mod. also, will be