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enough and strong enough to turn your back on the theatre. If you cannot play certain games without being tempted to do that which would bring a blush to your cheek when you pray "Lead us not into temptation," then be brave enough and strong enough to forswear those games, however innocent in themselves they may appear to be.
These specific cases are cited here merely as representative examples. The principle is, do only that, even for fun and pleasure, which you can do with entire safety to your best life.
2. Keep continually in mind that all amusements which are essentially selfish are, for that very reason, to be rejected as evil. However attractive they may be, they are malign, and therefore, in consideration of the true ends of life, are not in any just sense legitimate. All indulgence of pleasure that is selfish is attractive only to the mind that is unresponsive to the sweet attraction of pure benevolence.
3. In all things avoid excess. Most sins are sins of abuse. Excess is an immoral inversion of values and uses. There is a certain truth in the saying, "There may be too much of a good thing." It is more accurate to say that whatever passes the golden mean of moderation ceases to be good; the goodness
passes out as the excess comes in.
Intemperance is always a vice, in playing as truly as in drinking wine; and intemperance always weakens and harms its victim. An occasional visit to a clean theatre may give rest to the tired brain and refreshment to the jaded sensibilities. Continuous play-going, especially to the average theatre, rarely, if ever, benefits one; on the contrary, it is almost sure to deprave both mind and heart, and to destroy zest for the real, every-day life of the world. That there are exceptions to this may be taken for granted, but the exceptions are rare. The moment the line of pure refreshment and of rest, or of wholesome mental stimulus, is passed, that moment evil begins.
4. Finally, deliberately make amusement wholly subordinate to the high and noble ends of life, to the best thought, the purest feeling, and the worthiest work. There are many
pure amusements that fortify virtue as well as divert the mind. Fun has rightly a large place in life; often laughter is the most medicinal thing that can come into our lives. Sombreness is not conducive to health of body or of soul. We need more real mirth, not less; we need more play than most of us have. Labor often becomes a slavery. Let us meet the
grim struggles and trials of life with a brave gayety; but let us remember also that amusements, as they are commonly understood, have only a relatively small place in an earnest life. As one's capacities become enlarged, his tastes purified, and his aims exalted, he has less and less concern over the question of "the ethics of amusement," at least on his own account. He finds that the richest pleasures are highest up. As the spirit attains more, the senses demand less. There is a world of beauty and light and joy about and above us. In the pro
gress of man toward the good and the true, new delights are continually disclosing themselves to his eye, and pleasure is sublimed into joy that brings no sorrow and wherein is no excess. He who rises into the life of the spirit learns soon the meaning of Saint Paul's words: "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by any." He learns also the true, deep meaning of Saint Augustine's words: "Love, and do all things."
What I have been saying implicitly in all this discussion, I now say explicitly: Take the spirit of life which Jesus reveals as the guide of your life; let love rule. Let him, the Son of God, the Lover and Saviour and
Lord of your soul, give at once the law and the unwasting impulse of your life. He will lead you into sweet and lasting health; he will give you the sure wisdom which solves the problems of each day as it comes, because it is the evertransparent, inevitable wisdom of God.
There is enduring happiness as well as enduring profit only in the life that rings true to the stroke of Jesus's saying: "He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." I cannot do better than to close with the brave, strong words of Thomas Carlyle: "Love not pleasure; love God. This is the everlasting Yea wherein all contradiction is solved; wherein whoso walks and works, it shall be well with him."
A GOOD book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life. -MILTON.
In books lie the creative Phoenix-ashes of the whole Past. All that men have devised, discovered, done, felt, or imagined, lies recorded in Books; wherein whoso has learned the mystery of spelling printed letters, may find it, and appropriate it. CARLYLE.
In books we find the dead as it were living; in books we foresee things to come. These are the masters who instruct us without rods and ferules, without hard words and anger. If you approach them, they are not asleep; if investigating you interrogate them, they conceal nothing; if you mistake them, they never grumble; if you are ignorant, they cannot laugh at you. RICHARD DE BURY.
Far more seemely were it for thee to have thy studie full of Bookes, than thy Purse full of money. — JOHN LYLYE.
We are now in want of an art to teach how books are to be read rather than to read them. - DIsraeli.
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
A few books well-studied, and thoroughly digested, nourish the understanding more than hundreds but gargled in the mouth. FRANCIS OSBORNE.