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bler takes the property of another with the consent of the owner. In every case, at least, when property of any serious amount is at stake, each party in the game designs to win from his antagonist, and not to lose his own. Nor would he hazard his own at all, but that it is necessary for him to do so, in order to get possession of that which is not his. To
in the game
with the certain knowledge of losing is conduct with which no sane man is, or can be chargeable. The money lost, therefore, is lost contrary to the wish, the design, and consequently to the consent of the persons losing; while the winner holds it by no better tenure, according to the laws of morality, than the thief or the robber.
The gambler, therefore, is guilty of a direct violation of the law of God, in plundering the property of others, and reducing them to poverty and wretchedness; and proves himself by such conduct to be void of piety, benevolence, or humanity. He is a source of evil by his example, as well as by his actions ; a corrupter of youth, stealing from them not their property only, but what is infinitely more valuable, their virtue and their happiness; and doing all in his power to prevent their retreat from the road that inevitably leads to present and eternal ruin.
Gambling-to what extent of criminality and misery does it not lead its votaries? It opens up a way into the hearts of those who come fully within its influence to the fiends of hell to take up their abode, and hurry, them along to crimes of darker and still darker hue,to robbery and murder,—till at length the earthly course of guilt is often terminated by suicide, and the libe
rated spirit, utterly depraved, becomes the eternal associate of spirits as wretched and hopeless in depravity as itself. How much would be gained to the high interests of man were this source of moral waste and destruction, which has turned many a youth originally generous into an unfeeling seducer, a cruel and relentless oppressor, a fraudulent member of society, a remorseless assassin, a self-tormented and miserable suicide-entirely removed from our land, and still more severely denounced by the strongest prohibitions and penalties of law ?
Here, I would venture to make a remark in regard to all
games of chance. The evil of card and dice playing, and similar amusements, does not fully commence till money is staked. Then, however small may be the sum, it is gambling, and is generally productive of the evil passions to which gambling gives rise. The religious community, partly from the conviction of its being a profitless waste of time, and partly, from a well founded dread of the habits it may engender, especially in the young, and the consequences to which such habits may gradually lead, very wisely disallow in their families all such amusements. For similar reasons, as well as for others derived from considerations of humanity, and of their responsibility to God for the disposal of their time and talents, they disapprove of horse-racing, bull-baiting, prize-fights, and all such sources of attraction to the idle, the dissipated, and the fraudulent. To those who have the wish to maintain consistently this religious character, would I say in the language of the Apostle, “ Be not ye partakers
with them. For ye were sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as the children of light; proving what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
I. The importance of forming industrious and economical habits. Such habits are closely allied to our virtue, usefulness, respectability and happiness. Among whom is that Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation chiefly successful in making its deep and saving impression? It is not among the idle and the profligate, who seldom give it any
attention, and remain at a distance from its spirit and its comfort. It has been remarked by an eminent writer, that of all the thoroughly idle men he has ever known, only one appeared to have been converted ; and from the era of his conversion he became indus. trious and diligent.
Hence the duty of parents to train up their children to habits of industry and of economy. Should they succeed in their endeavours to form such habits in the little ones whom God has intrusted to their care, they will leave them, though they should be unable to give them any thing else, a valuable inheritance. Let young persons improve the morning of their days, by forming the habit of doing diligently and with their might, whatever they engage in ; and of deriving their happiness, not from competing with fools, and in running with them the career of folly, but in the favour of God, in the approbation of conscience, in the active exertion of their faculties, and in punctual attention to useful employment.
This habit will prove as serviceable in their spiritual as in their worldly concerns; and they will thus be most likely to advance to true honour here, and to the enjoyment of glory and happiness hereafter.
2. From the observations now made we learn the extent of true morality. The christian moralist who often inculcates the duties of religion-who gives to the law of God its right interpretation, by pointing out its infinite purity, spirituality, and unalterable authority, is objected to by two classes ;-by the Antinomians who turn the grace of God unto licentiousness; and by those who rely on certain good works as the ground of acquittal and of acceptance before God.
But the first of these classes object to the frequent inculcation of duty, because the duty does not suit their habits, their hearts, and their lives ;-because they are in reality strangers to the spirit and the power of that Gospel to which they profess to give the preference, but which has been ushered into our world, not to destroy the law but to fulfil ;-and because they are destitute of the principle of love to God and man, on which every enactment of the law is founded. The second of these classes, those who rely on certain good works for acceptance with their Maker, object to the christian teacher, on the opposite ground, that he dwells too much on the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel. But when he expounds the law, and shews how essentially different it is from the heartless, varying, hypocritical morality of the world, he is not
less than before the object of censure.
He is now accused of being too strict—of being righteous overmuch,-of condemning innocent amusements-of teaching a morose system of morality.
ON TRUTH AND VERACITY.
Such is the importance of truth to the order, the virtue, and the happiness of the universe, that one of the precepts of the decalogue is a prohibition of its violation. “ Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Truth signifies an accordance with the real state of things, whether in the natural or moral world. It very frequently, as in the ninth commandment, denotes veracity in speaking the truth ; and also fidelity in the fulfilment of our promises and contracts.
The great importance of truth to us, or, of our being acquainted with the real state of things in the natural, but more especially in the moral world, is sufficiently obvious. Some knowledge of the laws of the natural world is essential to the existence of the human race; and the collective experience of mankind, in this respect, is an invaluable treasure bequeathed to every succeeding generation.
But truth in the moral world, that is, our knowing God as he is, in his nature, character, and perfections, and the relations which we bear to him and to each other,--our knowing the actual procedure of his