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he cannot easily fail to throw away his cards and his dice. There have been, and there are, professors of religion who retain a predilection for these amusements; but they are not, and never have been, noted for circumspect and exemplary Christians. Go the whole round of those numerous circles which encompass the card-table. You will find selections of all sorts, from low vulgarity up to accomplished fashionfrom the refuse of the grog-shop, up to the most brilliant assemblage of the drawing-room; but if
you fall in with a single card-party, composed of those who “worship God in spirit and in truth;" who remember that they were “redeemed from their vaiN CONVERSATION, with the precious blood of Christ ;” and who are constrained by his love, to “live, not unto themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again;"_if you fall in with a single card-party composed of such Christians, (and they are the only ones who shall see God,) we will give up the cause.
What shall we say to these things ? Shall we say that a point which appears so serious to the very best of the human race, is not worth our attention? Shall we say that in deciding on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of a particular set of actions, we will prefer the judgment of the thoughtless, the profane, the abandoned, to the judgment of them who " fear God and
keep his commandments ?" Shall we say that his church, in which his presence dwells, and his mercies are dispensed, is a worse guide in morals, than the “world which lieth in wickedness ??? Shall we say that the Spirit and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ teach his people to cherish an unconquerable antipathy against practices which are not forbidden by his law ? Who, that has not parted with reverence for whatever is most holy, and just, and good, will embrace the affirmative ? And who, that vindicates the game of chance, does not embrace it?
The reader perceives that the immorality which we attribute to games of hazard, does not arise from circumstances; but is essential to their nature. We pronounce them immoral and unlawful, precisely on the ground of their abuse and profanation of the lot, which is an institution of God for special religious and moral purposes. We have introduced a view of their effects no further than was necessary for the prosecution of this argument. Not that we think these effects of trifling moment. They are of great and terrible moment. They should never be forgotten by any who incline to more indulgence than severity toward the games. By the light of the penalty, men often learn to read the law. An ear deaf to the voice of religion, may sometimss listen to the admonitions of prudence. An eye which sees no vice, may
discern meanness; and the fear of disgrace or loss may control those who who are intractable by piety.
For the sake of such, and for the confirmation of those who already obey the dictates of a wellinformed conscience, we shall give in our next, a sketch of some evils incident to games of chance.
Evils incident to Games of Chance.
We have repeatedly stated, in the course of these papers, that our great objection to lots as they are commonly used, is the impiety of their principle; and that this constitutes the unlawfulness of games of chance, such as cards, dice, &c.
Assuming our doctrine as true, because it has been proved, we can view the mischiefs attendant upon gaming, in no other light than that of penalties which God inflicts upon the violation of his law. On the confirmed gamester we do not hope to make an impression. An understanding so blighted; a conscience so seared ; a heart so cold, so selfish, and so hard, as enter into the composition of his character, render him deaf to remonstrance, and put him, for the most part, out of the reach of reform.
But they who hate gaming, while they love the game; who play freely for amusement, while they would, on no account, play for lucre; and who would shudder at the thought of promoting either vice or misery, are intreated to reflect whether there be not such evils connected with the game of chance, even in its least exceptionable form, and with its best limitations, as require them to abstain from it altogether.
1. A most unprofitable consumption of time, is, by general consent, among the fruits of the card-table and the dice-board.
Those relaxations and exercises which are necessary to health, to spirits, and to activity, ordinarily carry with them their own restriction. Bodily weariness, or the cessation of that charm which, for a short period, the mind perceives in occupations calculated to relieve it from its pressure, are of themselves, an admonition that the end is answered ; that the recreation is over; and that we must return to the business of life. But there is, in the very nature of the game of chance, a perpetual and increasing incitement. It tempts, fascinates, absorbs. The glass runs out unheeded : hour is added to hour; and the party rises fatigued and exhausted. Exceptions there doubtless are; but that such is the tendency of the game, and such its very frequent effect, cannot well be denied. Let the reader pause.
Let him ask himself whether this is an appropriation of time fit for one who means either to obey God, or do good to man? Let him ask, whether whole afternoons or evenings, thus expended, belong to the “redeeming of time;" or will afford a peaceful retrospect on the bed of death? Add up the moments which are squandered at the card-table, without the least imaginable benefit to body, to soul, or to society: look at their sum: see how much