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against any such new, or apparently new proposition, and its supporters are a minority, he is scarcely to be condemned if he refuses even to entertain it; unless, indeed, his habitual use of his natural privilege of reasoning upon such subjects, shall have rendered him liable to be called upon to decide for himself, in a matter that concerns his previous and future judgment upon so serious a subject as his religion. To exemplify the real value of self-denying and officious love familiarly, I must recur to what I before passed unnoticed upon the same subject, where you instanced the activity of imagination we ourselves should require from our wives and children. When we thus put man for God, we must suppose a perfect absence of all whim and caprice! A cool and reasonable man, who believed he had given sufficient indications of his will and humour by precept, explanation, and example, would not, I imagine, be particularly gratified at finding he had been mistaken, and that from unfounded fears, and absurdly rigorous interpretation of sundry expressions, his family had been unnecessarily debarring themselves of numerous little innocent gratifications, to which he would not have objected, and which, indeed, he had given them to be enjoyed. He might, and would, perhaps, receive the sacrifice graciously enough when resulting from imbecility of mind, caress his infants for their docility, and

his wife for her zeal, if he knew her to be a fool; but if otherwise, his complacency would probably be somewhat cooled by a certain remonstrating"I'm sorry you should have thought that necessary"-"Surely you might have known me better than that!"" Did'nt I so and so?" &c. But if the family were continually harassing themselves to find out, by all sorts of ingenious arguments, what it was possible they might do in the way of mortification to themselves for the sake of pleasing him, and act upon this kind of affectionate sophistry, without any recurrence to reason; I believe the temper of no man on earth would long be proof against such preposterous love as this. We now come to one of those points to which I conclude all this love business is meant as a preface. You affirm that "the question of the lawfulness of theatrical amusements would soon be decided if tried by the criterion of love:" (p. 239). Now this we do not grant. You must first convince us, that they are contrary to the will of God, before the retaining or renouncing of them can become a test of our love. I wish not to defend immoralities of any kind, the more decent and moral theatrical representations can be, the better; but we presume to think, that generally, in the present day, the theatre has far from an immoral effect upon the people. On the contrary, in almost

all plays of the present day, some great moral principle is actually inculcated, and every thing in the shape of indecency almost entirely exploded, profaneness wholly. As to what you say of the motions and gestures of dancers, I must refer you to your own condemnation of exquisite sensibility. Honi soit qui mal y pense! A man's mind must, indeed, be singularly prone to evil, if he can feel any in the action of a dancer as displayed upon our stage. No well constituted mind would ever dream of evil in such case, it would see no more than was meant to be displayed-graceful agility. You say rightly, that what is applauded upon the stage would not be tolerated in private society. But this, Sir, is no proof at all. As regards young women, no exhibition that puts them forward to be gazed at individually is approved, it is not their designation; and, though they dance for their amusement, there would be no object in the display that creates wonder upon the stage! I presume your remarks apply solely to women, and that you even would not imagine any indecency in men dancing. Yet they, in private society, exhibit even less than women. I conclude, therefore, there must be other reasons against it than its immorality. In answer to your ingenious supposition of a sovereign, whose courtiers frequented with democrats and jacobins, (p. 241), we deny altogether that the theatre is, as you


would infer, a mere lecture-room for immorality and irreligion, or in any way necessarily evil. It is simply a place of public amusement, consequently a place of public resort. And it were rather hard to deny an innocent enjoyment to the good, merely because the wicked happen to enjoy it also, especially where it almost invariably happens, that should any community of feeling be excited, it will be a conformity of the wicked to the good, not of the good to the wicked, the exciting cause being horror of an evil, or approbation of a generous or virtuous sentiment. In page 248, you return to the charge with something much more like an argument. It is, in fact, one of those redoubts which we must mask, as we certainly cannot storm it. It rests upon the certain existence of evil. You say "the profession of an actress is allowed to be unfavourable to the religious principles of a female," and ask from thence," whether it is consistent with Christian benevolence to encourage it?" Certainly to the abstract question, I must, as a Christian, answer-no! but then I must also answer no, to a thousand and one other questions of the same sort, which might as easily be framed'; and when

1 Whilst actually copying these letters for the press, I have received from, I presume, a pre-eminently real Christian, a whole sheet (foolscap) full of texts, proving, in the most orthodox (I beg pardon, scriptural) manner, and quite as strongly as you

I had retreated thus step by step from every thing in which a shadow of evil could be imagined, I should have the satisfaction of finding that I had been walking backwards round a circle, or into greater evils than those I had been fleeing from. It is, indeed, in these cases,

"Dextrum Scylla latus, lævum implacata Charybdis

For by this rule, a nation of Quakers would be found, not half-way advanced in self-denials. I answer, then, that the evils you allude to, though undeniable, are by no means necessary consequences, and in the present age, by no means certain consequences. Evil may arise, but so it may and does, just as frequently and certainly in almost all the profes

prove any of your positions, that we are bound to change our laws and constitution entirely, adopt an Agrarian law, and a division of all property whatsoever, universal suffrage, vote by ballot, and an inquisition in certain religious observances. Abolish every national Church, tythes, primogeniture, inequality of ranks, punishment of death in toto, and other corporal punishment; fiscal restrictions, and to render illegal alienation of real property for longer than half a century. All this mixed up and standing equally fair with instantaneous abolition of slavery, coute qu'il coute, not having the fear of St. Domingo before our eyes, and other things of which you yourself are a strenuous advocate. Which way shall we turn us? Verily legislators have a comfortable responsibility, and " some Christians a comfortable creed!"

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