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stock or a stone, (supposing him innocent of all positive crimes,) must have strange notions of the Divine economy, and of his own nature. If that sort of life be lawful and proper for one, it is so for all. And where would then be the business of life, the improvement of ourselves, the care of our children, the government of kingdoms, the advancement of the species towards a preparation for a future state of happiness? Let no one pretend that he cannot find employment till he has at least performed all that is prescribed in this book.
I will here throw together a few remarks on some of the modern fashionable amusements.
Gaming is an amusement wholly unworthy of rational beings, having neither the pretence of exercising the body, or exerting ingenuity, or of giving any natural pleasure; and owing its entertainment wholly to an unnatural and vitiated taste; the cause of infinite loss of time, of enormous destruction of money, of irritating the passions, of stirring up avarice, of innumerable sneaking tricks and frauds, of encouraging idleness, of disgusting people against their proper employments, and of sinking and debasing all that is truly great and valuable in the mind.*
• Cards being now become so universal as to be the nuisance of almost all companies, it may seem necessary in opposing the general prac. tice of the polite, to support what is above said against card-playing by some authorities, which will, I believe, appear at least equal to those of any of the most eminent modern defenders of that stupid and mischievous
Play, wherein persons of condition, especially ladies,” (in our times all ages, sexes, and ranks.) "waste so much of their time, is a plain instance that people cannot be idle; they must be doing something," (if it be mischief,) "For how else could they sit so many hours toiling at that which gives generally more rexation than delight to people, while they are engaged in it? It is certain, gaming leaves no satisfaction behind it to those who reflect when it is over, and it no way profils either body or mind. As to estates, if it strikes so deep as to concern them, it is then a trade, and not a recreation, wherein few thrive; and at best, a thriving gamester has but a poor trade on't, who fills his pockets at the price of his reputation." LOCKE on Educat. p. 366.
And afterwards, page 368:
"As to cards and dice, I think the safest and best way is, never to learn any play upon them, and so to be incapacitated for those dangerous temptations and encroaching wasters of useful time."
What would this great man have said, had he lived in our times, when it is common for people to spend five or six hours every night at cards, Sunday not excepted; which amounts to the fourth or fifth part of the whole time of life, and comes in all to perhaps ten or a dozen years in a long life?
As for the theatrical diversions, they are managed in such a manner, that a sober person may be ashamed to be seen at many of them. It is notorious that the bulk of our English plays are not fit to be seen in print. The tragedies are, generally speaking, a heap of wild flights and bombastic rants, and the comedies, of scandalous impurities; neither of which can be thought worthy the attention of a people who value themselves either upon their taste or their virtue. There may be found, perhaps, in the English language, about twenty or thirty pieces, especially some of Shakspeare's, which, if subjected to pretty severe castigation, and properly represented, might be said to make a noble entertainment. But these serve only as traps to draw in the innocent and unwary to a delight in the diversions of the theatre. And by the sagacity of the managers of the theatres, who very well know that the gross of an audience have no taste for what is really excellent in those entertainments, and are only to be pleased with show, or ribaldry; by their cunning management, I say, it comes about, that it is not much safer for a young and innocent person to be present at the representation of a chaste and virtuous piece, than of one of the most profane. What does it avail, that the piece itself be unexceptionable, if it is to be interlarded with lewd songs or dances, and tagged at the conclusion with a ludicrous and beastly farce? I cannot, therefore, in conscience, give youth any other advice, than generally to avoid such diversions as cannot be indulged without the utmost danger of perverting their taste and corrupting their morals. As for masquerades, if the intention of them be intriguing, they answer some end, though a bad one; if not, they seem by all accounts to be such a piece of wretched
Let us now hear Mr. Addison on the same subject. SPECT. No. 93. "I must confess I think it is below reasonable creatures to be altogether conversant in such diversions as are merely innocent, and have nothing else to recommend them, but that there is no hurt in them. Whether any kind of gaming has even thus much to say for itself, I shall not determine; but I think it is very wonderful to see persons of the best sense, passing away hours together in shuffling and dividing a pack of cards, with no other conversation but what is made up of a few game phrases, and no other ideas but those of black or red spots, ranged together in different figures. Would not a man laugh to hear any one of this species complaining that life is short 2"
foolery, as ought to be beneath any but children or mad people. That a thousand people should come together in ridiculous dresses only to squeak to one another, I know you, and, Do you know me! Posterity, if the world should grow a little wiser, will not believe it; but will conclude that their grandfathers and grandmothers were very naught. A multitude assembled together in masks, by which means shame, the great restraint from vice, is banished! What can be imagined more threatening to the interests of virtue and decency.*
I know of no very material objection against the enter tainments of music called concerts, if they be not pursued to the loss of too much time or money. Those called oratorios, being a kind of dramas taken from Scripture, are, I think, exceptionable, as they tend to degrade those awful subjects, and to turn into diversion what is more proper for devotion.
Promiscuous dancing, at public balls, is a diversion no way proper for young people, as it gives an opportunity for the artful and designing of either sex to lay snares for one another, which sometimes prove fatal. At the same time, country-dancing in private, where the whole company are known to one another, where the parents or other judicious persons preside, where decency is kept up, and moderation used, must, I think, be owned to be both an agreeable amusement, and a wholesome exercise.
Hunting, the favourite diversion of the country-gentry, is, without doubt, the very best that can be used for the preservation of health, exclusive of the danger of broken bones. But, as a gentleman ought in all reason to be possessed of other endowments and accomplishments, besides that of a healthy constitution, one would think, a few other employments should have place; such as reading, overlooking their business, improving their estates; serv
Among various others, the immortal honours of our present most excellent Sovereign, George III. may this page hand down to posterity, that he has set his royal authority and example in full opposition to the vices here remarked on, viz. Masquerading, Gaming, and criminal Gal lantry. And to the indelible disgrace of the present age, be it remembered, that in consequence of the discontent of a set of disappointed grandees, the merit of so amiable a prince has not been esteemed as, from the known generosity of the people of Britain, might have been expected,
ing their friends, and country, and preparing themselves for another world; for surely that cannot be said to be the existence of a thinking, social, immortal creature, which is divided between hunting, drinking, and sleeping.
The distress many people seem to be in for somewhat to pass the time, might have been prevented by their studying in the earlier part of life to acquire a little taste for reading and contemplation. Whoever can find an agreeable companion in a book, a tree, or a flower, can never be at a loss how to pass his leisure hours, though he should not be in the way of the card-table, the tavern, or the play. And it is well worth while to acquire a little taste for mental amusements in one's early years, (the only time of life in which it is to be acquired,) for when all is said, it is but a miserable case for a man to have in himself no entertainment for himself; but to be obliged to be beholden to others for all his pleasures in life.
Our situation in the present state is such, that every thing makes a part of our discipline; and we are in danger, without proper care and attention, of deviating into error in so seemingly trivial a particular as that of dress. Too much time, or too great expense betowed on dress, that is, more than might do the business decently, becomes criminal. For that is wasting, upon an affair of very little consequence, what is of great value, and might be much better applied. Levity, or wantonness, appearing in dress, is also unjustifiable, as tending to produce bad effects on ourselves and others.
To conclude, the proper conduct of the passions and appetites consists briefly, in following nature in the indulgence of them; in taking care, above all things, not to suffer them to get such a hold of the mind as to enslave it, that is, to engage so much of its attention as may disqualify it for worthier pursuits, make it unhappy, by continually hankering after the gratification of one low desire or other, and lead it to place its whole satisfaction in such gratifications. The due conduct of the passions and appetites supposes reason to bear rule in the mind, and the inferior powers to be in subjection. Whoever keeps his mind constantly in such a condition, is at all times in a capacity for acting a part suitable to the Dignity of Hu
man Nature, and performing his duty to his fellow-crèatures, and to his Creator.
Of our Obligations with Respect to our Fellow-Creatures. THE foundation upon which the whole of our duty to our fellow-creatures must rest, is benovolence. And the measure of our love to the rest of mankind, is, its being equal to that which we have for ourselves. The reason why it is made our duty to love our neighbours as ourselves, is, that being proper, there should be such an o der of being, as man, created, it was impossible for Divine Wisdom to propose the production of such a species, without intending them to be united together as a society; and that mutual love and agreement are essentially necessary to the very idea of a society. As it is impossible to conceive a material system, in which repulsion should universally prevail, and attraction have no place, but every particle of matter should repel every other, so it is conceivable that a society should subsist in which every individual should hate every other.
Our self-love is very wisely made the measure of our love to our fellow-creatures, because every individual ought to consider himself as only one among many, and no way of greater consequence than his neighbour, before the universal Governor, than as he may be more virtuous than he. And as human penetration does not reach so far as to judge of internal characters, we cannot upon any rational pretence pronounce ourselves preferable to others, nor consequently ought to love our fellow-creatures at all less than ourselves. It is true, that the order of human affairs is such, as to direct every man to apply himself to the conducting of his own concerns, and consulting his own interest; because every man knows best, and is therefore the fittest to undertake the management of his own concerns, temporal and spiritual. By which means every man's concerns are likely to be managed to the best purpose. But it does not follow from thence, that any man ought in his own mind to prefer himself to another, or to love himself more than his neighbour.