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Qual. v. 5. Therefore all those are unlawful sports, which are used only to delight a carnal fantasy, and have no higher end, than to please the sickly mind that loveth them. Qual. vi. 6. And therefore all those are unlawful sports, which really unfit us for the duties of our callings, and the service of God; which, laying the benefit and hurt together, do hinderus as much or more than they help us! which is the case of all voluptuous wantons. Qual. v11. 7. All sports are unlawful which take up any part of the time, which we should spend in greater works: such are all those that are unseasonable (as on the Lord's day without necessity, or when we should be at prayer, or any other duty); and all those that take up more time than the end of a recreation doth necessarily require (which is too common). Qual. viii. 8. If a recreation be profane, as making sport of holy things, it is a mocking of God, and a villany unbeseeming any of his creatures, and laying them open to his heaviest vengeance. The children that made sport with calling the prophet “bald-head” were slain by bears". Qual. Ix. 9. They are unlawful sports which are used to the wrong of others: as players that defame and reproach other men: and hunters and hawkers that tread down poor men's corn and hedges. Qual. x. 10. It is sinful to make sport of other men's sinning, or to act it ourselves so as to become partakers of it; which is too common with comedians, and other profame wits. Qual. xi. 11. Unclean, obscene recreations are unlawful. When filthiness or wantonness is represented without a due expression of its odiousness; or with obscene words or actions. “But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not be once named among you as becometh saints, neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting'.” Qual. xii. 12. Those sports are unlawful, which occasion the multiplying of idle words about them; and engage the players in foolish, needless, unprofitable prating. Qual. xiii. 13. And those sports are sinful, which plainly tend to provoke ourselves or others to sin: as to lust, to swearing, and cursing, and railing, and fighting, or the like. Qual. x 1 v. 14. Those also are sinful, which are the ex• 2 Kings ii. 23. * Ephes. v. 3.
ercise of covetousness, to win other men's money of them: or that tend to stir up covetousness in those you play with. Qual. xv. 15. Cruel recreations also are unlawful: as taking pleasure in the beholding of duellers, fighters, or any that abuse each other; or any other creatures that needlessly torment each other. Qual. xvi. 16. Too costly recreation also is unlawful : when you are but God's stewards and must be accountable to him for all you have, it is sinful to expend it needlessly on sports. Qual. xvii. 17. Unnecessary recreations forbidden by our lawful governors are unlawful. If they were before lawful to thee, yet now they are not; because your king, your pastor, your parents, your masters, have power to rule and restrain you in such things; and you must obey them. Qual. xviii. 18. Lastly, if you have the choice of divers recreations before you, you must choose the fittest: and if you choose one that is less fit and profitable, when a fitter might be chosen, it is your sin: though that which you choose were lawful, if you had no other. By all this it is easy to judge of our common stageplays, gaming, cards, dice, and divers other such kind of sports. If they have but any one of these evil qualifications they are sinful. And when they are used without very many of them. 1. They are too commonly used by men that never intended to fit themselves for their work and duty by them: yea by men that live not at all to the pleasing and glorifying God, and know not what it is to be obediently addicted to his service: yea by men that live not in any constant, honest labour, but make a very trade of their recreations, and use them as the chief business of the day. 2. They are sports unfit for the ends of lawful recreation, as will easily appear to the impartial *. For it is either your bodies or your minds that need most the recreations: either you are sedentary persons, or have a calling of bodily labour: if you are sedentary persons (as students, scribes, and divers others), then it is your bodies that have most need of exercise and recreation, and labour is fitter for you than sport; or at least a stirring, labouring sport. And in this case to sit at cards, or dice, or a stage-play, is, instead of exercising your bodies, to increase the need of exercising them: it * Tanto cum strepitu ludi spectantur et artes. Hor.
stirreth not your parts; it warmeth not your blood; it helpeth not concoction, attraction, assimilation, &c. It doth you much more harm than good, as to your very health. But if you are hard labourers, and need rest for your bodies and recreation for your minds; or are lame or sickly that you cannot use bodily exercise, then surely a hundred profitable exercises are at hand which are more suitable to your case. You have books of necessity to read (as the Word of God): and books of profit to your souls, and books that tend to increase your knowledge in common things; as history, geography, and all arts and sciences ! And should not these be any of them pleasanter than your dice, and cards, and plays? 3. At least it is plain that they are not the fittest recreations for any man that intends a lawful end. If you are students, or idle gentlemen, is not walking, or riding, or shooting, or some honest, bodily labour rather, that joineth pleasure and profit together, a fitter kind of exercise for you? Or if you are labouring persons, and need only pleasure for your minds, should you not take pleasure in God, in Scripture, in holy conference, meditation, or good books? Or if indeed you need a relaxation from both these, have you not profitable history or geography to read? Have you not herbs, and flowers, and trees, and beasts, and birds, and other creatures to behold? Have you not fields, or gardens, or meadows, or woods to walk into ? Have you not your near relations to delight in ; your wives, or children, or friends, or servants 2 May you not talk with good, and wise, and cheerful men, about things that are both pleasing and edifying to you? Hath God given you such a world of lawful pleasures, and will none of them, nor all of them serve your turns, without unlawful ones, or at least unfit ones (which therefore are unlawful): all these are undoubtedly lawful; but cards, and dice, and stage-plays are, at best, very questionable : among wise and learned men, and good men, and no small number of these, they are condemned as unlawful". And should one that feareth God and loveth his salvation, choose so doubtful a sport, before such abundance of undoubtedly lawful ones? If you be so proud or rash as to reply, ‘Why should I leave my sport for another man's conceits or judgment?' I will tell thee that which shall shame thy reply, and thee if thou canst blush. 1. It is not some humourous, odd fanatic that I allege against thee, nor a singular divine; but it is the judgment of the ancient church itself. The fathers and councils condemn Christians and ministers especially, that use “spectacula' ‘spectacles,” or behold stage-plays and dicing. 2. Even the oldest canons of our own Church of England forbid dicing to the clergy, which is because they reputed it evil, or of ill report. 3. Many laws of religious princes do condemn them. 4. Abundance of the most learmed, holy divines condemn them. 5. The most sober and learned of the Papists condemn them. 6. And how great a number of the most religious ministers and people are against them, of the age and place in which you live, you are not ignorant. And is the judgment of the ancient church, and of councils, and fathers, and of the most learned Protestants and Papists, and the most religious people, besides many ancient laws and canons of no force with you in such a case as this? Will you hold to a thing confessedly unnecessary, against the judgment of so many that account them sinful? Are you and your playfellows more wise and learned than all these? Or is it not extremity of pride, for such unstudied, empty men to prefer their sensual conceits, before such a concurrent stream of wiser and more ponderous judgments? Read but Dr. J. Reignolds's Treatise against Stage-plays, against Albericus Gentilis, and you will see what a world of witnesses are against you. And if the judgment of Voetius, Amesius, and other learned men against all lusory lots be of no authority, at least it should move you that even Mr. Gataker and others, that write for the lawfulness of them in that respect (as lusory lots) do yet lay down the rest of the requisites to make them lawful, which utterly condemn our common use of cards and dice, much more our gamesters: so that all the sober divines that ever I read or heard, condemn all these : and are you wiser than all of them?
* Among the Ep. of Bonifac. Mog. there is a council held under Carloman, king of France, which saith in the king's name, “Nec nonet illas Venationes et sylvaticus vagationes cum canibus omnibus, servis Dei interdixiuus. Similiter ut accipitres et falcones non habeant.' And sure these are better than cards and dice, which yet some priests now use too much.
4. Besides this, your consciences know that you are so far from using them to fit you for your callings, that you either live idly out of a calling, or else you prefer them before your callings: you have no mind of your work, because your mind is so much upon your play: you have no mind of your home or family, but are weary of your business, because your sports withdraw your hearts: and you are so far from using them to fit you to any holy duty, that they utterly unfit you, and corrupt your hearts with such a kind of sensual delight, as makes them more backward to all that is good; insomuch that many of you even grow so desperate as to hate and scorn it. This is the benefit it bringeth you. 5. And you cannot but know what a time-wasting sin it is. Suppose the game were never so lawful; is it lawful to lay out so many hours upon it? as if you had neither souls, nor bodies, nor families, nor estates, nor God, nor death, nor heaven to mind? 6. And how much profaneness, or abuse of others is in many of your stage-plays 2 How much wantonness and amorous folly, and representing sin in a manner to entice men to it, rather than to make it odious, making a sport and mock of sin; with a great deal more such evil' And your cards and dice are the exercise usually of covetousness, the occasion of a great deal of idle talk, and foolish babble about every cast and every card: and ofttimes the occasion of cursing, and swearing, and railing, and hatred of those that win your money, and oft it hath occasioned fighting, and murder itself. And even your huntings are commonly recreations so costly", as that the charge that keepeth a pack of hounds, would keep a poor man's family that is now in want : besides the time that this also consumeth. So that the case is clear, that our gamesters, and licentious, sportful gallants, are a sort of people that have blinded their minds, and seared their consciences, and despise the laws and presence of God, and forget death and judgment, and live as if there were no life to come, neglecting their miserable souls, and having no delight in the Word or holy worship of God, nor the forethoughts of eternal joys, and therefore seek for their pleasure in such foolish sports, and spend those precious hours in these vanities, which God knows, they had need to spend most diligently, in repenting of their sins, and cleansing their souls, and preparing for another world. If yet any impenitent gamester or idle time-waster shall