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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 linking and debasing all that is truly great and valuable in the inind*.
As for the theatrical diversions, they are managed in such a manner, that a sober person may be alhamed 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 tiemfelves either upon their taste or their virtue. There may be found,
Cards being now become so universal, as to be the nuisance of almost all companies, it may seem necessary in opposing the general practice of the polite, to support what is above laid agajnit card-playing by some authorities, which will, I believe, appear at least equal to those of any of the moit eminent modern defenders of that stupid and mischievous amusement.
“ Play, wherein persons of condition, especially ladies" (in our times all ages, sexes, and ranks]." wojte so much of their time, is a pain instance " that people cannot be idle; they must be doing something," (if it be milchief] “ For how else could they fit so many hours toiling at that which
gives generally more vexation than delight to people, while they are en“gaged in it? It is certain, gaming leaves no satisfaction behind it to those “who reflect when it is over, and it no way profits either body or mint. As “ to eflates, if it strike so deep as to concern them, it is then a tradle, and not “ a recreation, wherein few thrive; and at best, a thriving gamester has but " a poor trade on't, who filiş 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 latest and best way is, never to learn "any play upon them, and so to be incapacitated for those dangerous ten.pla. “tions and incroaching wasters of useful time."
What would this great man have said, had he lived in our times, wlien it is common for people to spend five or fix hours every night at cards, Sunday, not excepted ; which amounts to a fourth or fifth part of the whole time of life, and comes in ali to perhaps ten or a dozen years in a long life?
Let us now hear Mr. Aldijon on the same subject. Spéct. No. 93.
" I must confefs 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 lay for itself, I it'ail not determine; “but I think it is very wonderful to see persons of the bili lenje, pfling aw:ly s bours togetber in shuffling and dividing a pack of cards, with no other con“ versation, but what is made up of a few game phrases, and no other isicas, “ 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 due is porto"
perhaps, in the English language, about twenty or thirty pieces, especially some of Shakespear’s, which, if subjected to pretty severe caftigation, and properly represented, might be said to make a noble entertainment. But these serve only as traps to draw in the innocent and unweary to a delight in the diversions of the theatre. And by the fagacity 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 thew, or ribaldry ; by their cunning management, I say, it comes about, that it is not much safer for a young and innoçent person to be present at the representation of a challe 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 conclufion with a ludicrous and beaitly farce? I cannot therefore, in conscierce, give youth any other advice, than generally to avoid fuch 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 beintrigu. ing, they answer fome end, though a bad one; if not, they seem by all accounts to be such a piece of wretched 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! Pofterity, 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 * Among various other 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 viccs here remarked on, viz. Masquerading, Gaming, and criminal Gallantry. And to the indelible disgrace of the present age, be it remembered, that, in con. sequence of the discontent of a set of dilappointed grandees, the merit of fo 12miable a prince has not been esteemed as, from the known generosity of he people of Britain, might have been expected,
I know of no very material objection against the entertainments 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 fometimes 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 whole fome 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 poffered 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 estate ; serving 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 cardtable, 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 misera,
ble cafe for a man to have in him felf no entertainment for himselt; but to be obliged to be beholden to others for all his pleasure in life.
Our fituation 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 expence bestowed 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 confifis brierly, 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 enllave 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 fatisfaction in fuch gratifications. The due conduct of the passions and appetites fupposes 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 Human Nature, and performing his duty to his fellow-creatures, and to his Creator.
SECT. VII. Of our Obligations with Respect to our Fellow
creatures. THE foundation upon which the whole of our duty
to our fellow-creatures must reft, is benevolence, 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 order of beings, as man, created, it was impossible for Divine Wisdom to propose the production of such a
fpecies, without intending them to be united together as a fociety; and that mutual love and agreement are effentially 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 is it conceivable that a fociety should fubfift, 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 intereit; because every man knows best, and is therefore the fitteft, 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.
Whoever loves his neighbour as himself, will shew his affection by consulting his interest in all things which may concern either his body, his soul, his fortune, or reputation : For every man, who rationally loves him, self, will study his own interest with respect to these four
great concerns. To consult our neighbour's intereft, is, to do him na injury: to prevent, as much as in us lies, any other person from injuring him ; to do him justice in every respect, and, beyond justice, to thew him all the kind, ness in our power,
To be negatively good, if we proceed no farther, is deserving no more praise than a stock or a stone. And