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Tired Church Members   By: (1824-1915)

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TIRED CHURCH MEMBERS.

BY

ANNA WARNER,

AUTHOR OF THE "FOURTH WATCH," "THE OTHER SHORE," ETC.

"So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord." Amos iv. 8.

"Choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life." Luke viii. 14.

NEW YORK

HURST & COMPANY

PUBLISHERS

Copyright, 1889,

By ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS

Copyright, 1891,

By HURST & COMPANY.

CONTENTS.

TIRED CHURCH MEMBERS MUSIC DANCING THEATRES GAMES WHAT LEFT?

TIRED CHURCH MEMBERS

I suppose one never goes heartily into any bit of Bible study, without finding more than one counted upon. And so for me, searching out this subject of Christian amusements some curious things have come to light. As for instance, how very little the Bible says about them at all. It was hard to find catchwords under which to look. "Amusement"? there is no such word among all the many spoken by God to men. "Recreation"? nor that either; and "game" is not in all the book, and "rest" is something so wide of the mark (in the Bible sense, I mean) that you must leave it out altogether. And "pastime"? ah, the very thought is an alien.

"This I say, brethren, that the time is short." [1]

Redeem it, buy it up, use it while you may, such is the Bible stand point. It flies all too quickly without your help.

"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle." [2]

"Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." [3]

Not in frolic. So you can see that I was puzzled. However, by patiently putting words together, noting carefully the blanks as well, some things become pretty plain; and the vexed question of Christian amusements is answered clearly enough for those who are willing to know. But as we go on searching and comparing, think always of the command once given and never repealed:

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." [4]

For we call ourselves Christians, that "people of laws divers from all other people"; and now we are consulting our statute book.

You think, then, says somebody, that Christians are to do nothing but work, work, from morning to night: that the Bible forbids all play and all pleasure? No, I think nothing of the sort. But let us see what it really does say. "To the law and to the testimony," and abide by them.

To begin then where most of all, perhaps, the old and the modern times are like each other, feasts have always been in vogue and always permitted; only for Christians, like all else that concerns them, with a special set of regulations as to time, manner, and behaviour. You do not think of this when you dress for your dinner party: you did not suppose the Bible meddled with such things. Nay, it "meddles" (if you call it so) with the very smallest thing a Christian can do.

The feasts of old time were in all essentials so like the feasts of to day, that not all the changes of race, dress, and viands can much confuse the likeness. There is the great baby celebration for Isaac,[5] and the wedding feast for the daughter of Laban,[6] and the impromptu set out in Sodom wherewith Lot thought to entertain the angels.[7] There are the great gatherings of young people over which Job was so anxious;[8] and the yearly sacrifice at the house of Jesse "for all the family," [9] reminding one of our Thanksgiving.

Then follow state dinners of amity between two contracting powers; as when Isaac feasted Abimelech,[10] and David feasted Abner.[11] Then court entertainments: the birthday feast of Pharaoh to all his servants, when he lifted up one and hanged another, and the birthday feast of Solomon which marked his entrance upon a new life of duty, opportunity, and promise, and which he kept like a young heir coming of age.

These are all well known to us: and alas, so also are the feasts of social excess, like those of Nabal;[12] and the idolatrous feasts of the men of Shechem,[13] and of the king of Babylon;[14] wherein men praise only "the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, and of iron, of wood and of stone... Continue reading book >>




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