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hanging ever in your sight, and yet interdict, and emboldens her precluded by an unreasonable pro- with the hope of transgressing with hibition from its taste and enjoy- impunity. ment? I cannot believe that God Now this is just the process by has placed you under a law so des which the Theatre undermines the potic and severe, and in circum principles which are placed as safestances of such painful and pro- guards against the power and prevoking restraint.-I am therefore valence of temptation. induced to inquire--Can it be? Let us suppose the case of a “ Yea, hath God said, ye shall youth brought up under the wholenot eat of every tree in the gar- some restrictions of what would
generally be regarded as a well-reguHe then waits for these insinua lated family, but permitted to attend tions to work their mischievous the amusements of the stage.--He effects.
soon becomes familiar with sentiAnd the woman said unto the Ser. ments and scenes to which he was pent, we may eat of the fruit of the before in a great measure a strantrees of ihe garden ; but of the ger, but which are too congenial fruit of the tree which is in the midst with his corrupt nature, and which of the garden God hath said, Ye make an evil impression long before shall not eat of it, neither shall ye such impression becomes sensible. touch it, lest ye die. It should They work their way into the heart seem that the surprise affected by with secret but sure insinuation. the Tempter at the interdict under A train of thought and feeling is which she was placed, had its in- awakened which soon causes him tended influence upon the mind of to regard the restraints of religion Eve ;-—and the subtle foe no doubt and good morals in the light of saw enough to encourage him to painful and harsh privations. The take a bolder step. And the Ser- desire is then excited that there pent said unto the woman, Ye shall were no such restraints, or that not surely die. As if he had said, they had never been imposed. And It is not to be believed that your as this desire, after forbidden inMaker can intend to destroy his dulgences, becomes more restless own work for so slight an offence; and impatient, a disposition manior that He will doom you to death fests itself to doubt or deny the for indulging the gratification of reasonableness or necessity of such tasting the fruit which he has thus interdicts. But still there is in the hung in your sight and within your mind of such a youth a barrier reach. No; this is impossible- against the power of temptation :dismiss your unreasonable and ab- he has been taught to stand in awe surd apprehensions-Ye shall not of God's judgments—as in the case surely die.
of Eve, there is not only the proThus did the subtle Tempter hibition, but also the penalty and prepare the way for success in the punishment, there are not beguiling Eve, by placing the Di- only the checks of human authority, vine prohibition in a prominent and but the threatenings of the Bible, unfavourable point of view ;-by From the Stage, however, he hears
quieting her fears; and by breaking from time to time, the awful and · down her principles. He excited unseen realities of eternity treated
in her inind dissatisfaction with the with so much levity and irreverence, restraint under which she was pla- as insensibly to weaken their hold ced, and doubts of the fulfilment upon his conscience.-Hell and the of the threatening by which it was Devil are words in such familiar use, enforced. He at once disposes as soon to lose their influence. The Eve to wish for the removal of the gratification of the desires and pastions of our corrupt nature is made then she contemplated the fruit so light of,--represented as 80 cus- in the false and favourable light in tomary and common, and so plau- which the Tempter exhibited it to sibly excused, that the impression her view, and she fell. is made upon the mind, that it is The same cunning craftiness does unreasonable to suppose that God Satan still employ to beguile into will punish his creatures with eter- sin those whom he had previously nal destruction for such light follies prepared by his subtle insinuations; and venial indulgences. The in- and Satan himself could scarcely fluence of religious principle is thus desire a better opportunity, or undermined ;-the distinctions of more likely means for the exercise virtue and vice are confounded; of his subtilty, in placing sin in the the youth is laughed or reasoned most enticing and influential point out of his fears and out of his belief: of view, than those which the Stage -and thus his safeguards are re- and Theatre furnish. “The works moved; the barrier against open of the devil, the pomps and vanity transgression is thrown down; the of this wicked world, and all the unhappy victim of Satan's art no sinful lusts of the flesh," are exhilonger stands in awe; he is just bited under the most fair, and flatbrought, through the same subtilty tering, and seductive aspect. They of Satan, into that very state of are commonly set forth under such mind in which we left Eve,-im. circumstances and in such characpatient of the interdict, and dis. ters, as to appear just the very posed to doubt the fulfilment of the things to give pleasure, to procure threatening.
honour, and to bring advantage. When the mind is brought to the They, therefore, find a ready constate now described—there requires sent and accordance in the passions only a sufficiently powerful tempta. and pride of human nature. tion with opportunity, and Satan Vice and profligacy are made to has so far gained his object.
wear the face of gaiety and perpeWhen Satan had insidiously pre- tual mirth. The most dissolute pared the way, by disposing Eve characters are commonly those who to dissatisfaction with the Divine excite the interest, or sympathy, or restraint, and quieting her fears, applause of the audience. Moral the subtle Tempter then represents evil is not only exhibited, but exhithe forbidden object in the fairest bited by a mode of representation, and most alluring point of view:- calculated, above all others, to give He not only directed the attention it impression and effect; and exhiof Eve to the fruit, that her eye bited with so many embellishments might be attracted by its inviting —surrounded with such deceptive appearance, and her desire excited splendour, and so many interesting by its likelihood to gratify the taste; qualities, that so far from producing but he inflamed her imagination by unfeigned disgust and reprobation, describing the wonderful and en- it carries away the heart, and deeply nobling effects which the eating of interests the imagination. that fruit could not fail to produce. Of all the evil consequences “And the Serpent said unto the which follow these amusements, woman.... God doth know that in there is not, perhaps, one more the day ye eat thereof, then your fearful, than the fascinating ineyes shall be opened, and ye shall be fluence which they give to sin ; as gods, knowing good and evil." exhibiting it in the very light in The artifice took effect. The fatal which Eve contemplated the forresult followed. The ill impression bidden fruit, -as just calculated for had been made ;--the evil desire gratifying the desires, and giving formed ;-the safeguards removed; pleasure to the heart, and for at
tracting admiration ; while the few er, and deceive you with yain words, religious sentiments which are in- and strengthen the delusion. It may terspersed here and there, are not exbibit sin under an aspect as flatonly utterly inefficient, but often. tering as it is false. It may enable times as incongruous as the name you to laugh away your fears; of God in the mouth of Satan, and you may learn to trifle with the as profane and presumptuous as the torments of hell, and to cavil at appeal which the Evil Spirit made eternal punishment:- but your day to the Creator for an attestation of is coming; "the wrath of God is the falsehood with which he was revealed from heaven against all imposing upon Eve.
ungodliness and unrighteousness of Such were the arts of Satan : and men,” and it will surely fall upon such also is the pernicious influence all those who have not feared it, of Theatrical Amusements : they and fled from it to the appointed render the wholesome restraints of refuge in Christ Jesus. “Be pot morality and religion upon the deceived, God is not mocked; for pride and passions of human nature whatsoever a man soweth that shall grievous and uneasy; they encou he also reap. He that soweth to rage the false and flattering hope the flesh shall of the flesh reap of impunity in sin; and then they corruption." present the temptation under the But Eve was no less beguiled by most enticing form and circum- the serpent as to the expected fruits stances.
of her transgression, than as to the II. Consider the delusion of Eve: hope of impunity. “He said unto “ The serpent beguiled Eve through her, in the day ye eat thereof, then his subtilty.” She was the dupe of your eyes shall be opened, and ye Satan's falsehood, and was imposed shall be as gods knowing good and upon, both as to the hope of im- evil ;” and he said this with treapunity, and also as to the expected cherous equivocation. There was fruits of her transgression.
a sense in which his words were First, she found to ber bitter fatally fulfilled. cost the serpent had beguiled her As soon as she had eaten of the with the promise of safety; when forbidden fruit, her eyes were sentence was pronounced, and her opened ; just as the eyes of the state of guilt, and ruin, and degra- servants of the king of Syria, who dation opened upon her mind in had been sent to seize the prophet, clear and convincing manifestation and under temporary blindness had Her sin then found her out. And, been conducted into the midst of my dear brethren, the hope of final Samaria-just as their eyes were escape for those who live in forget- opened ;-opened to the appalling fulness of God and disobedience to view of the imminent danger in his will is as much a fatal delusion which they stood ;-surrounded by of the devil now as it was then their enemies,—in their power and “Evil pursueth sinners," and will at their mercy. overtake them sooner or later. She also knew good and evil. God has said it, " Woe unto the Hitherto she had known only good; wicked, it shall be ill with him, for but she was now to know evil by the reward of his hands shall be sorrowful experience. given him.”-You may fearlessly Satan is the great deceiver still ; follow the bent of your inclinations and equally bitter will be the dis-you may brave it out and take appointment of those, who, blinded your fill of pleasure. You may and beguiled by his arts, expect to embolden yourselves and others in find happiness in the ways of sin... wickedness, and the Theatre may The Theatre may encourage this lend its powerful aid to the Tempt. false hope hoth by precept and ex
ample; but Eve rued the day in presents at once, the temptation which she listened to the treacher and the opportunity; and to this ous promise of the subtle tempter; PUBLIC PEST, for I can call it by no and oh! if we could hear the con- milder term, is to be ascribed a fessions which conscience has wrung large portion of this fearful and from the frequenters of the Theatre, increasing evil. Oh, what guilty and witness the remorse of those scenes will that day disclose, when who have been beguiled by its God will bring every secret thing fallacious representations, and have into judgment; and the seducer felt the bitter consequences --who and seduced, shall stand confronted have been tempted to eat of the before the decisive bar. fruit which showed so fairly to the But my warning on this subject eye, but found it to be wormwood shall be given in the sacred words and gaŲ, we should then see how of divine inspiration, taken from the sin cheats its dupes, and that, what- seventh chapter of the book of ever may have been its previous Proverbs :-) beheld amongst the promises, “at the last it biteth simple ones, I discerned among the like a serpent and stingeth like an youths, a young man void of underadder.”
standing .... And behold there met Such confessions have sometimes him a woman with the attire of a proceeded from the depths of peni- harlot, and subtle of heart; with tential sorrow;—from a broken and her much fair speech she caused hinc contrite heart; from persons who to yield ; he goeth after her straightcould be addressed in those words way, as an or goeth to the slaughter of St. Paul, What fruit had ye then .... As a bird hasteth to the snare, in those things whereof ye are now and knoweth not that it is for his ashamed ? for the end of those things life.—Hearken unto me now, thereis death.
fore, and attend to the words of my But, my dear brethren, if you mouth; let not thine heart decline renture within the reach of such to her ways, go not astray in her pernicious influence, knowingly, paths ; for she hath cast down many wilfully, presumptuously, -as you wounderl : yea, many strong men must do after this warning, you have been slain by her: her house have no reason whatever to expect is the way to hell, going down to to be of the number of those to the chambers of death. whom God in the exceeding riches Permit me to conclude with a of his grace, thus grants repentance few brief observations of practical unto life;-but rather of that larger advice.number from whom such confes I beseech you, brethren, bear in sions are wrung on the death-bed your recollection the important of despair, or in that place where difference between your state and " the worm dieth not and the fire that of Eve. She was upright;is not quenched.”
having no previous bias to evil, And here I would take occasion when the tempter came to her. to raise my warning voice against a But when he comes to you he finds class of sins, which of all others, his way prepared,-his work half perhaps, are most fatal in their done, there is a traitor within. consequences, both as it regards this His temptations are sparks-our world and that which is to come. hearts are tinder. They readily I will not be deterred by the cap. catch fire. O how should we watch tiousness of a fastidious delicacy and pray that we enter not into from plainly saying that I mean the temptation. sins of uncleanness. To these Suffer me then to leave with you șins the Theatre directly leads, two cautionary remarks. and for the commission of them it ". First, as to the particular danger now under consideration,--the peril incurably sinful in their own naof attending theatrical amusements. ture, and so pre-eminently per
Beware how you halt, and hesi. nicious in their tendency as, in my tate, and delay, in your resistance judgment, to call loudly for a to this evil. Act as Eve should special public testimony against have acted. Immediately and at them. But Satan is the ruler of once reject all solicitations which all the darkness of this world. His would draw you into this snare. means of temptation are many and Let there be no deliberating, no various. You may be falling by debating; but resist with prompt other devices. At every moment decision and stedfast will. Every and on every side are you exposed moment of pause and parly gives to his subtilty. Trust not in your the tempter an advantage over you: own heart. Seek divine wisdom but “ resist the devil and he will and strength. Habitually come to flee from you.” Enter into no the throne of grace, through your compromise—make no concessions great high priest, Jesus, the Son -dread to take one approaching of God, who put your enemy to step. There is an important part flight and shame; and there by of the original prohibition given to diligent, daily prayer, obtain mercy, our first parents, mentioned by Eve and find grace to help in time of in her answer to Satan; ye shall need. Put on that whole armour not eat of it, neither shall ye touch of God, which is described in the it. Have nothing to do with the Epistle to the Ephesians, that ve Theatre.—“Come out from among may be able to stand against the them, and be ye separate, and touch wiles of the devil. “ Be sober, be not the unclean thing."
vigilant.” Watch unto prayer. But, in the last place, beware how And may it please God to strengthen you think yourselves safe because such as do stand—to raise up them you are free from this snare. The that fall, and to beat down Satan amusements of the Theatre are so under our feet.
ON THE PROCURING CAUSE OF JUSTIFICATION.
Sir-I agree with your Correspondent C. D, in his opinion that “every topic connected with our Justifica tion before God, must ever possess the deepest interest to a mind at all alive to the importance of that great subject ;” and I cannot therefore agree with another of your Correspondents' in depre. cating discussion on this subject; under all circumstances.* The Doctrine of Justification, and the right understanding of it, appear to me so important, that when sentiments are advanced, the tendency of which is, in my mind, to involve the whole subject in doubt
and perplexity; it becomes highly necessary, by a temperate discussion, so to investigate the doctrine that no room may be left for our arriving at opposite conclusions : my own opinion, as to the doctrine in question, has long been in opposition to that of C. D. who misrepresents, no doubt inadvertently, the sentiments of those from whom he differed. C. D. affirms that 'we exclusively attribute our Justification to the righteousness of Christ's human nature, and that we maintain " that by Christ's vicarious obedience alone are we to be accounted righteous in the sight of God.” This, Sir, I say is a misrepresentation of the 'sentiments of those who differ from C. D.
* See Christian Guardian, 1827. pp. 337, 383, and 462.