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Mather "Snippets" on Stage Plays

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  • Gary Gearon
    The Devil is in his Pomps and Plays. If then thou dost return to Stage-Plays, thou dost leave the Faith of Christ, and return again to serve Satan.
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 8, 2003
      The Devil is in his Pomps
                and Plays. If then thou dost return to Stage-Plays, thou dost leave the Faith of
      , and return again to serve Satan.
      Salvian (de provid. Dei. Lib. 6.) Argueth, in
                Stage-Plays (saith he) there is an Apostasy from the Faith, men in Baptism profess
                that they Renounce the Devil, his Pomps and Shows;
       ‘Tis the usual practice of Stage-Players to make themselves and others merry
                with the Vices and Wickednesses of men.
      When they have seen a lively Representation of Wickedness
                on the Stage, their Minds have been Vitiated, and instead of learning to hate Vice
                (as is Vainly pretended) they have learned to practice it.
      Tertullian de Spectaculis, Cap. 24. 38, 42. And
                Austin de Symbolo ad Catechum. Lib. 4. Cap. 1. In those days they would not
                Baptize any Person, that should be so much as a Beholder, much less one that
                should be an Actor in a Stage-Play. Yea, if Christians did afford their presence at
                such Stage-Plays, they were by the Ecclesiastical Constitutions judged as guilty of
                a Crime deserving no less then Excommunication.
      In the Discipline of the Reformed Churches in France, Anno. 1571. I find
                these Words, It shall not be Lawful to assist at Comedies, Tragedies, and other
                Interludes, Plays of Manners, and other Plays represented publickly or privately,
                because at all times they have been prohibited amongst Christians as causing
                Corruption of good Manners.
      I remember Austin in his Confession (Lib. 6. Cap.
                8.) Reports concerning Alipius (a very hopeful Young Man whom he had a great
                Affection for) That he was much Importuned by some of his Acquaintance, to go
                along with them to see a Sword-Play. He at first denied to go along with them, but
                at last to please them he consented; only resolved that he would keep his Eyes shut
                as long as he continued on the Stage: but one of the Fencers being smitten so as to
                fall, the Spectators gave a shout, at the hearing of which, Alipius opened his Eyes.
                And then (saith Austin) he was struck with a deeper Wound in his Soul, then the
                other was in his Body; so that he fell more miserably then the Sword-Player had
                done, whose fall caused the mighty shout of the People. He no sooner saw another
                Mans Blood, but at the very instant drank down a kind of Savageness; being much
                taken with the Barbarousness of the Sword-Fight, and made Drunk with that
                Bloody Pastime. Nor was he now the Man he was when he first came thither, but
                became an entire Companion of them, who brought him to the Theater. He was so
                Inflamed with it, and carried home with him such a measure of Madness, as that he
                came another time, nay ran before them who first enticed him, and haled on others
                to do so too. And in this course continued a long time, but God was pleased at last
                by a strong and merciful Hand to Convert him
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