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gistrate, “He beareth not the sword in vain,"* is an implied acknowledgment of the propriety of using the sword in a military manner. This argument, I conceive, arises from a misapplication of the passage. The sword here alluded to, we have reason to suppose, was only an emblem of civil power. We are informed, that one of the chief magistrates in Rome (and it is to the Romans the Apostle used this expression) bad a sword hung up in his court, as an emblem of his power;t and we know that in this country, especially in corporate towns, the chief magistrates have a sword borne before them on particular occasions, as an emblem of office. But if the sword was even used in the punishment of offenders, it would be no fair argument in favour of using it for the purposes of war, and those devastations attendant on this lamentable evil.
These, and such as these, are the arguments advanced by many, in support of an evil, which, in its consequences, shocks humanity, destroys morality, weakens the influence of religion, and entails on mankind miseries incalculable and indescribable. Was the inge
* Rom. xii. 4.
+ Godwin's Roman Antiquities, p. 164.
nuity of man as much exercised to put an end to this calamity, as his ambition is to support it, we should soon find the benefits resulting from this disposition. But it is religion, it is the Christian religion, which alone provides an adequate remedy for this malignant disorder; and when mankind are willing to receive it, in the purity, the love, the meekness, and the humility, which its Divine Author inculcated, this, with other similar predictions respecting Him, will be fulfilled : “He shall judge among the nations, and work conviction * among many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-books: nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more.”+
* See Lowth's Translation of Isaiah.
+ Isaiah ii. 4.
General remarks on them.--Rules respecting them.--On Dancing and Music. Necessity of properly regulating amusements for youth.-- Propriety of avoiding temptation.
THE little benefit, and great injury, which attend most of those enjoyments, that go under the name of amusements, have induced us to bring them into less compass, than the generality of Christians do: not that we are averse to such relaxations from bodily or mental exercise, as become rational beings, and true Christians: but the repugnancy of a great part of those pleasures to religion and virtue, and the avidity with which they are pursued, are causes of sorrow to those, who have at heart the real interests, temporal and spiritual, of their fellow-creatures.
There are three rules relating to amusements, by which our conduct should be regulated.
1.- To avoid all those which tend needlessly to oppress and injure any part of the animal creation. Of this class are cock-fighting and horse-racing: also hunting, &c. wben engaged in for diversion and pleasure.
2.- To abstain from such as are connected with a spirit of hazardous enterprize; by which the property and temporal happiness of individuals and families, are often made to depend on the most precarious circumstances; and the gain of one frequently entails misery on many. Of this class are all games in which property is staked.
3.–To avoid such as expose us to unnecessary temptations, with respect to our virtue ; or which dissipate the mind, so as to render a return to civil and religious duties ungrateful. Of this kind, stage entertainments are peculiarly to be avoided, with various other places of public amusement, which have a tendency to corrupt the heart, or to alienate it from the love and fear of God.
The amusements of dancing and music, we think, also come within this class. It may be alleged that these might be practised in such
a manner, as not to accord with the description given. Our Society, however, thinks it right to abstain from those amusements; both because of their frequent connexion with places and circumstances, which are highly objectionable; and because we conceive they can scarcely be entered into, without an improper employment of that time, which we are required not to waste, but to pass in fear, and to redeem.
Were our minds rightly regulated, and our ' affections set on things above, very little, which is called amusement, would be thought necessary for those who are arrived at mature age. With respect to young people, it peculiarly behooves those who have the care of them, to sce that such amusements only be adopted, as may not prove injurious to their religion or virtue; but which may tend to promote their possessing a sound mind in a sound body. Were amusements thus restrained and regulated, great would be the benefit arising from such restrictions ; but when we see how ardently many, not only of the youth, but even of those who are considerably advanced in years, rush into dissipating and corrupting pleasures, it is not to be wondered at, that yice and irreligion should prevail to an alarming degree,