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Dr. J. Still, Bishop of Bath and Rev. W. Mason.
Rev. Dr. Brown.
Dr. John Watson, Bishop of sory. Dr. Watson, Bishop of Llan- Winchester, 1583. daff.
Dr. Welsh, Bishop of Derry, Dr.John Christopherson, Bishop 1670. of Rochester.
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Rev. Dr. Young Archdeacon Paley.
Rev. C. Maturin. Dean Swift.
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Rev. T. Broughton. Dr. John Hacket, Bishop of Archdeacon Coxall.
Lichfield and Coventry. Rev. Dr. John Dalton. Rev. Stephen Gosson.
Rev. Laurence Echard.
Rev. Phineas Fletcher.
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Sir R. Steele. Augustus Cæsar.
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Wilkes, View of the Stage. Jonas Hanway.
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DEFENCE OF THE STAGE,
PHILIPPIANS, iv. 5.
My attention has been directed to the subject I am now proposing to discuss, by a Sermon lately published in Dublin, and preached in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Lower Abbey-street, on Sunday, the 4th November, 1838, by the Rev. Dr. John B. Bennett. This Sermon is entitled, “ The Evil of Theatrical Amusements, stated and illustrated.” Considered by itself, and with reference to this exclusive title, it may be considered a learned, pious, and temperate discourse, almost entirely divested of sectarian prejudice, eloquently argued, dictated, I have no doubt, by a sincere conviction of the truth of the doctrines it inculcates, and an earnest desire to promote the great ends of Christion instruction. The conclusions arrived at are
startling. It is maintained, that to go to the Theatre, is “ to follow a multitude to do evil ;" that the patrons and professors of the Drama are flying in the face of Divine command; practising ungodliness, and hazarding the inestimable blessing of redemption, by indulging in a pursuit that Christianity forbids : a pursuit in its nature essentially vicious, and therefore to be avoided and renounced by all who love and reverence the word of the Creator." These are fearful denunciations, and call upon a thinking man to reflect seriously and solemnly on his position. To review his avocations and his indulgences, so as to ascertain by the clear light of reason and truth, whether or not he is in the predicament ascribed to him. I approach this investigation with feelings suited to the importance of the subject; with an unaffected diffidence of my own power to grapple with it; less imbued with the spirit of controversy, than with the desire of instruction; anxious to learn rather than to dispute; with a profound respect for the zeal and abilities displayed by Dr. Bennett, in his discourse, and desirous of examining his arguments, not with the bias of a
partisan,” because he has condemned the profession of which I am a member, but rather in the humble spirit of a Christian, seeking in the regulation of his life not to offend the sacred tenets of the creed in which he has been instructed.
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