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you to resolve, by the grace of God, that you will never again mock at sin, or have pleasure in them that do so;—but turn from all sin, and turn truly to Him who alone can save you from wrath. And if you are asked why you do not go to the Theatre—reply, because there “Fools make a mock at sin," and I cannot find mirth and merriment in that which brings ruin upon the soul. And, my dear Brethren, have you ever considered the great love of our Saviour Jesus Christ in dying for us; who humbled himself to the death of the cross, for us miserable sinners who lay in darkness and the shadow of death, that he might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life? Have you ever reflected upon his exceeding grace in sending to you these glad tidings ?-Have you ever read his merciful invitations and offers ?-Have you ever heard the joyful sound of the Gospel, which speaks pardon and peace to the weary, burdened sinner, who comes to Christ for rest to his soul ?--Have you ever listened to his kind and compassionate voice to the comfortable words which he saith unto all that truly turn to him ?-And can you reply to all this grace by making a mock at sin ?Can you thus provoke him to his very face? Can you sport with that sin which forced the blood through his pores - which overwhelmed his soul with agony, and wrung from him the loud and bitter cry which he uttered on the cross?
Has he done so much for you, and
your returns ?-Oh! no; my dear Brethren, let gratitude to your Saviour keep you from the way of the sinner, and the seat of the scorner.
If you will go, however, remember you go not unwarned;—you do not sin in ignorance;—you are exposing yourself to the devil's most successful engine, and you are doing it against light and knowledge;—and it is my duty, as the minister and messenger of God, to warn you of the danger of presumptuous sin. But, my dear Brethren, may God, in his mercy, keep you back from presumptuous sins! May he grant that this admonition may not be in vain ;--that not only it shall be your determination-whatever others do, I will not make a mock at sin ; but that you may be awakened to an abiding apprehension of the guilt and danger of sin,—that your soul may be humbled before God in true repentance, and that you may be stirred up to seek God's mercy seat in prayer, and there plead for pardon, through the atonement and intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, and for grace to enable you to become servants to God, and to have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life!
MAT. xxii., 37, 38, 39, 40.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind:—this is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself ;-on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
It will be in the recollection of many who are now hearing me, that I once declared
intention of bringing before this congregation the subject of Theatrical Amusements, whenever circumstances might appear to me to render it necessary or expedient to do so. I am fully aware that in carrying this intention into effect, I may be ex posing myself to reproach and contempt, and that some, even amongst yourselves, may be ready t. blame me for officious zeal. It may be said, that having so fully and plainly condemned the Amusements of the Stage on former occasions, it cannot be necessary to do this again.
If, my dear Brethren, my object were merely to acquaint you with my views on this subject, and to declare my opinion, enough has indeed been already said. This, however, would be far from answering my purpose. My desire is to produce upon you minds, and to preserve upon your minds, a clear conviction of the utter inconsistency of such Amusements with your professed character, and of their evil and dangerous tendency; and to prevail with you, not only to abstain from attending upon them, but also decidedly to discountenance them, and to give them your determined opposition. I desire this, because I am fully persuaded, that of all the engines, and instruments, and snares which the Devil employs to entrap the unwary,—to entice the young,—to banish serious reflection, and to ruin the soul, the Theatre is one of the most dangerous and destructive;-inasmuch as the evil is mixed up with just enough of harmless and interesting amusement to serve as a plausible excuse, and to obtain the sanction and support of many persons of character and estimation in society. The plausibilities, however, which cover over this pit which is dug for your souls, so far from abating one jot or tittle of the evil, only increase the danger; and make it a more imperative and bounden duty in those who watch for your souls, to expose its true nature, and to lay it bare and open for your inspection. I would now make another effort with this design; and I do it on the present morning, that you may have the ensuing week for reflection and serious thought, before the temptation is actually presented to you. My desire is to address you with serious earnestness; I would preach
“As a dying man to dying men,
May you hear as those who must give an account, -with candour and with conscientiousness,—with a willing and ready mind,-open to conviction, and desirous of coming to a right judgment on this point. To this end, let us lift up our hearts to God, for the teaching of his Spirit, and for the power of his Grace. I have already, on some former occasions, brought this subject before you, and placed it in different points of view. These Amusements, however, are so completely at variance with the whole system of religion, that we have only to fix upon any one scriptural principle, or precept, or practice, and then bring the Theatre into comparison with it, and the opposition and contrariety will immediately appear.
My text contains the first and the fundamental principles of all true religion ;- the two great Commandments of the Law ;-the whole duty of man in its essence and elements. All the varied precepts which God has enjoined, are but the different ways in which it is meet and right and his good pleasure, that the principles laid down