Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

           

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Some Important Cases of Conscience Answered,

Database

Some Important Cases of Conscience Answered,

James Dodson

at the Casuistical Exercise, on Wednesday Evenings, in Little St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate-Street.

CASE III.

By Samuel Pike.

A serious person, who scruples to comply with the usual practice of playing at cards, desires to know whether these scruples arise from a needless tenderness of conscience, or from the faithful monitions of the Spirit of God?

The above question is grounded upon, and extracted from the following epistle:

“Reverend Sir,—I humbly take the liberty to recommend to your consideration a subject which has been of great concern to my mind. In time past I had a great liking to, and frequently practiced the game of cards without remorse, as most young people, I believe, do. But, since I have tasted that the Lord is gracious, (which I hope is my happy case,) I directly laid aside the general practice of it, as what I apprehend unbecoming the Christian character. I have withstood frequent temptations offered for a compliance; but once being in company warm for the game, on their solicitation I complied, but not without sharp reproofs of conscience. On which I secretly purposed to have no more to do therewith, and have hitherto kept my resolution. Whether my refusals are needless scruples of conscience, or faithful monitions from God, is my query. And as the season is coming on, in which the game of cards is commonly practiced, and I may possibly fall in the way of temptation hereto, I am desirous to know, if by compliance I shall sin against God, and (if so) wherein the evil thereof particularly consists.”

I am, Sir,

yours, &c.

“P.S. I leave it to your judgment to frame a question from these thoughts suitable to the occasion.”

As such a conscientious spirit runs through the above epistle, I think it may speak the language of many hearts, and therefore the more readily address myself to the consideration of the subject.

The serious request contained in the foregoing letter cannot be answered without entering into the merits of the cause; for there is no other way of knowing whether the scruples in our minds, as to any particular practice, be needless or just, but by applying to the divine word as the rule of duty, to see what we can gather from thence by just consequence concerning the point. So far, therefore, as my judgment reaches, I would endeavor seriously and faithfully to recommend myself to everyman’s conscience in the sight of God.

Let me first speak a few things which agree to the game of cards along with other diversions in common; and then consider what is peculiar to this game, and others of a similar kind; and so by degrees show you wherein and how far it is lawful or unlawful. And,

1. This diversion, with every other, is certainly evil; whensoever it is attended with these circumstances that are detrimental and disgraceful; if it be practiced with wicked company; if it is pursued at unseasonable hours; if it infringes upon the regular duties, civil or religious, of the family; if it puts by, or drives into a corner, the secret duties of the closet; if it occasions the laying of high stakes, or stirs up the corruptions of anger, envy, revenge, or lays a foundation for swearing, quarrels, and confusions. And is it still more peculiarly abominable, whenever person’s hearts are so hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, as to presume on the practice on the Lord’s day. Those who are acquainted with this game, and indulge a free use of it, cannot but be sensible that it is very, very often attended with such abominable circumstances: and as it is for the most part attended with, or productive of, these evils, therefore every one that has any sense of religion, and any conscience towards God, should be very wary and cautious how he ventures upon it.

2. This diversion, with every other, is certainly evil, so far as it is a disgrace and dishonor to the profession of religion. For a professor to give himself up to any diversion immoderately, is a reproach to him. But for a professor of Christianity to be a professed card-player, is a brand and infamy. When any of them are known to be followers of this practice, their characters are sunk in the esteem of all truly serious Christians and Gospel churches; and this report spread concerning them, or this practice seen amongst them, raises their credit only among the loose, gay, and vain part of the world, and exceedingly hardens the hearts of those who have not set God before them.

And that this is a reproachful diversion, is practically and publicly acknowledged by the form of the indentures, whereby youths are bound apprentices; for in these indentures they are bound to abstain from cards and dice, and other unlawful games. And doubtless this form was established in those indentures, under a conviction that these diversions are peculiarly ensnaring to youth.

If, therefore, professors have any conscientious regard for their reputation as Christians, they are bound, from this principle, to abstain from the disreputable practice.

3. This diversion with every other, is certainly evil, so far as it is ensnaring in its own nature. Now it is very evident from matter of fact, that this game has something peculiarly bewitching and entangling in it. How strongly does it captivate the affections, how strangely does it draw away the heart, and how powerful is its efficacy to fill the mind with vanity! to such a degree, that a person must be extremely upon his guard to escape receiving an unspeakable prejudice to his soul. This diversion, therefore, must be certainly unlawful, when it bewitches the mind and produces vanity and carnality of affection. Besides, it is known, that this game has some such pernicious pleasure in it, as actually enamors the affections, and makes persons to be extremely fond of it, and set upon it, as if it was a matter of the highest importance to have opportunities for it, and to be indulged in it. And, generally speaking, so efficacious is this influence upon the mind, that all arguments and persuasions, all warnings, nay, and the very experience of disadvantages arising from it, prove altogether too weak to detach the mind from it. Many persons are so fond of it that they will forego almost everything, rather than be debarred from the infatuating pleasure. With what unaccountable eagerness do some pursue it; how are they vexed and grieved at heart, when disappointed of a game; and what resentment rises in their minds against those who are so faithful as to reprove or debar them? And that person must be accounted a precisian, an enthusiast, an enemy to pleasure, who attempts to speak a word against it. Whenever matters are run to such a length as this, or to anything like it, it is an evidence that the gamesters are absolutely intoxicated with carnal pleasure.

4. This diversion, with every other, must certainly be evil, when it unfits the soul for spiritual duties. It is readily granted, that some diversions are certainly lawful; and it is as readily allowed, that some diversion is really necessary: but then it is only so far as it is suited is unbend the mind for a season from severer thought, or to relax the body to render it the more capable to perform necessary duty. Diversion is graciously allowed and designed to fit the body and mind for spiritual and natural duties. But surely a gracious person must acknowledge the following maxim to be just: that whatsoever diversions do actually unfit the frame and spirit of the mind for devotional exercises, they so far prove themselves to be hurtful and criminal. And therefore every person that has any regard for the power of godliness in his own soul, must judge and condemn himself as guilty before God, whenever he engages in such diversions, or to such a degree, as to unfit his soul for this communion with God. And if every professor did seriously attend to this rule, and examine himself by this test, I doubt not but he would soon be obliged to decline this practice from his own experience. Give me leave here to put one question to your consciences, a question that needs to be put seriously to you, and by you to yourselves:

Whether, after a game at cards, you do not actually find yourselves hereby unfitted for spiritual devotion? And I strongly suspect, that if every one of you, who know what communion with God means, would be faithful to yourselves, you would all of you find by sad experience, that this game is an absolute enemy to vital religion.

Having brought this subject down thus into experience itself, I will beg leave to offer the following considerations to your thoughts.

Since this game is found to be so peculiarly attended with many evils, to be so peculiarly dishonorable and infatuating, and to be in fact such an enemy to vital godliness, what can be the reason hereof? Is there not some ground to suspect that it is evil in itself? If it be not so, how comes it to pass, that such evils should necessarily cleave to it, or be necessarily produced by it? but, if it be unlawful, wherein does the particular evil of it consist? far would I be from exaggerating matters of any kind unjustly; though I am apprehensive that many, who see these lines, will imagine, that an attempt to prove this game to be evil in itself, must be owing to an over-nicety, preciseness, or scrupulosity of conscience. But let me crave your patience a little, while I attempt to lay forth my thoughts upon this head with all freedom and plainness.

The whole I have to say upon this subject is founded upon a plain, but too much neglected passage of sacred writ: Prov. xvi. 33. The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole deposing thereof is of the LORD; i.e. whenever a lot is cast, the entire decision or determination of it is from JEHOVAH himself. He claims it as his sole prerogative. This proverb will appear to be true concerning all sorts of lots, whether civil or religious, wheresoever, howsoever, or whensoever they may be cast. For, in all cases whatsoever, when a lot is cast, and cast fairly, an event is hereby rendered casual and uncertain, and it is not within the reach of human skill or power to ascertain, foresee, or determine the event: and if it be beyond human contrivance or art to decide the affair, to whom then does it belong; or whose prerogative is it? Whoever, therefore, believes the universal providence of God, must of necessity acknowledge, that all events universally are under the divine direction, more especially those that are casual. And, if God is to be owned in those events that come upon us daily, unforeseen, unsuspected, and undesigned by any creature; surely divine providence ought to be still more especially regarded by us, whensoever we voluntarily render an event uncertain and casual. We must therefore conclude from the above plain text, and the reasoning upon it, that we ought in no case designedly to render an event casual with respect to us, without some real dependence upon, and submission to, divine Providence. With which frame of spirit, lots may be cast or established upon proper occasions without any harm or crime.[1] And, without some such frame of mind in casting or receiving a lot, we are really defective in our regard to JEHOVAH, as a God of Providence, even supposing the occasion of the lot to be proper and justifiable. But, if we venture to cast a lot upon trivial occasions, such occasions as it would be profaneness to address JEHOVAH in, we are then guilty of trifling with that, which ought to be treated with a serious regard to the LORD, as the supreme decider of all events; and especially of those, whose decision we designedly put out of our own reach.

It may perhaps here be readily asked, what reference has all this reasoning to the present subject? or how can this be applied to the game of cards and dice? Let me then briefly state this affair to you, with a view to the diversion in question.

I confess, that in this game much of the success depends upon the skill and attention of a person who engages in it; for a skillful player can sometimes make a greater advantage of a bad hand, than others can of a good hand. But still, whether a person should have a good or bad hand, depends entirely upon the cutting, shuffling, and dealing out of the cards; and this is a very important circumstance in the game. I shall put the affair of a lot in the present case only upon this issue. He that shuffles, or cuts, and deals out the cards, either does it fairly or unfairly. If it be done unfairly, then here is cheating, knavery, fraud, and dishonesty practiced in the game. But, if he does it fairly, it is done in such a manner, that no person can foresee which side should have the advantage: so then here is an event designedly put into a properly casual or uncertain state: and this is, this can be no other than the very act of casting a lot. So that we are necessarily reduced to this dilemma, that either a lot is cast, or the game is conducted in a cheating dishonest way. Therefore, if justice takes place in the game, here is an event, an event of considerable consequence in the play, designedly put out of the decision of human skill, forethought, or contrivance; and so the decision of this event must necessarily be referred elsewhere, to some invisible power.

Can it then be improper or unnecessary to ask whether the decision is referred? Is it to God, to the devil, or to chance and fortune? If the decision be referred to God himself as a God of providence, this can be esteemed no less than profaneness; and we are assured that God will not account him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. And can we with any seriousness or decency, at a game of cards, say in our hearts, LORD, give a perfect equitable lot? I know we cannot: you know we cannot. Such language of heart or action can never be esteemed decent in diversion: and those, who have any seriousness in their spirits, are far from the thought, and cannot bear the reflection in their own consciences.

I ask them farther, if the decision be not referred to the LORD, is it to the devil? No, by no means, you will say. This you detest as much as the former, as it has a species of witchcraft in it. It only then remains that the reference is made to chance or nothing. To say that it is referred to nothing, is to say, that it is not referred at all, which is contrary to matter of fact; because the event is actually and designedly referred away from yourselves, and from all human skill and contrivance. And therefore it must be referred to luck, chance, or fortune. This thought is more tolerable than the former: and it is extremely evident that the reference is made hither, from the universal language which obtains in this diversion; in which, nothing is more common than to talk about luck, chance, and fortune. But remember, then, if the reference be made to chance, what is this but substituting, practically substituting, fortune in the room of divine providence? which is a species of heathenism and idolatry.

It may be said, indeed, in order to satisfy or soothe the conscience, that you have no thought or design in shuffling the cards, to make an appeal or reference to any whatever, neither to God, the devil nor chance, and therefore you cannot be chargeable with either of these suggested or supposed evils. But it is easy to reply, that though your remote intention be only to divert yourselves, and to conduct the game fairly, yet a more immediate design professedly intervenes: namely, it is your actual intention, if you are honest and fair to put an event out of your own reach, and out of the reach of your partner and company, in order for you to divert yourselves by it, and upon it. And if you do designedly and professedly refer the event away from the determination of all human skill and forethought, it highly becomes you, who cast this lot, seriously to inquire whether you refer it then; remembering, at the same time, that whatever your thought be, or whether you have any thought about it or no, it is still an universal truth, that when the lot is cast into the lap, the whole disposal of it is of the LORD. Say not, O professor, that the providence of God has nothing to do with such trifling concerns, for whether we will or no, the above quoted text is, and must be, of universal extent. Are these concerns too trivial for divine providence! when not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father, and the very hairs of our heads are all numbered.

I am sorry that I am obliged to inculcate and enforce such plain and universal truths, because they are so evidently infringed upon, even by professors themselves, through their being habitually ignorant of the evil included in chance diversions. And surely, those amusements can scarcely be called harmless, whose innocency can be no otherwise supported, than by excluding, contracting, or abridging the providence of God.

But I have another serious thought to offer to your consideration, which I cannot but conceive must have some weight in it to a serious mind.

You know in yourselves, that, whensoever this lot is cast in the diversion, you are more or less concerned about, or concerned with, the event in your minds; your affections are more or less at work, in any way of expectation and hope, to see what advantages chance will give you, or deprive you of, in the game. And the difference is not very great, if you play but for a trifle, or even for nothing; for every person is, in some degree, solicitous and desirous to have the advantage of a good hand, either from a principle of interest or honor. For, if you are totally indifferent about the event of the game, and about having the advantage in it, you actually lose all pleasure and amusement in the diversion. It is this hope and concern that is the spring of all the pleasure attending the diversion to you; and it is this that keeps your attention to it. Accordingly, there is, in some degree, a hope of having a good hand: or a fear of having a bad hand; and certain joy and pleasure, if the former falls to your lot, and a certain sorrow or grief, if the latter comes to your share, by the shuffling and dealing out of the cards.

Let me then entreat you seriously to reflect what these affections of the mind are excited by, what they are built upon, what is their object, and their foundation? Is it not chance, luck, or fortune? If not, what else can be the ground of these motions and affections, from whence the primary pleasure of the amusement springs? Certainly, you agree to refer the decision of the event, (which raises these internal motions, these hopes, fears, or dependencies,) away from all the creatures, from all human skill and power, unto chance, or fortune, and if so, is not it an experimental as well as a constructive substitution of fortune in the room of providence? See whether this is not the true state of the case, whenever your minds are in any measure agitated with hopes or fears, pleasure or sorrow, about the goodness or badness of the hand. And if this be, or so far as it is, the spring of your attention to, and pleasure in, the game, what name shall we give to this sort of pleasure? And can we wonder that it should be so peculiarly ensnaring and intoxicating, as we generally find it to be?

But, if what has been said in a way of reasoning upon the nature of a lot, and the necessary workings of the mind upon the event decided thereby, does not convey any conviction, I would try one more method, and that is, by making a plain and close appeal to the hearts and consciences of those, that have anything of the fear of God before their eyes, concerning the working of their minds, the sentiments of their hearts, and the words of their lips, in the practice of these amusements.

It is possible you may think there is very little in all this argumentation concerning the nature and design of a lot. Be it so, then: but let us next see what are the unavoidable consequences and effects of thus trifling with providence under the feigned name of luck and fortune; for frequently, the innocency or evil of any thing is best seen in the immediate and universal fruits and effects.

Now I will venture to affirm, that this very practice generally, and, as it were, necessarily, produces these effects upon professors: 1. Heathenish sentiments; 2. Heathenish language; 3. Heathenish affections; all which together often introduce, 4. Heathenish practices. You may well be startled at the very proposal of these particulars. However, all that I desire is, that you would give them that weight which, upon a proper examination, they appear to have in fact upon yourselves and your experience.

1. Heathenish sentiments appear to be the unavoidable consequences of this practice. It actually contracts your notions of divine providence. It makes you ready to imagine, that God leaves some events to chance or fortune. And, indeed, you dare not be clear, consistent, and properly extensive in your sentiments concerning the divine determination of casual events, without making some breach upon, or causing some suspicions in, your consciences concerning this practice, wherein you professedly agree to refer the determination of an event, wherewith you are concerned, away from yourselves, you know not whither, or at least dare not think whether it is in fact referred according the true doctrine of providence.

This diversion naturally leads you into an opinion, that chance presides over and rules the that fortune sometimes takes one side, and sometimes another, in a sort of arbitrary way. It naturally tends to make you think that some persons are lucky and fortunate, while others are unlucky and unfortunate. To which we may add, that there is a multitude of heathenish motions arising from, or making their way into your minds; such as, that fortune smiles upon some, and frowns upon others; that, if the cards are shuffled in some other manner, or if we change our places, &c. this will turn the power of chance another way. Let me ask you freely, whether you do not find that such imaginations gradually obtain some place in your minds? and surely, these conceptions are not only idle, but heathenish and foolish in the highest degree, and have more evil and infection in them than we may at first view be ready to allow. I am, indeed, very sensible, that no judicious, conscientious Christian can, in his sober thoughts, embrace such opinions; but yet a frequent practice of these games will unavoidably leave the infection of them upon the imagination; and that sometimes to such a degree, that a person actually desires to divert himself this way, because of the amusement and entertainment he finds in seeing, (as he thinks,) how fortune shifts sides, desiring and hoping that it may turn about in his own favor. All this will be farther confirmed by observing,

2. That heathenish language appears to be the unavoidable consequence of this practice. How constantly do we hear the terms luck, chance, fortune, in the process of this game? How freely do the gamesters talk of lucky persons, lucky hands, and fortunate or unfortunate places? This, everyone knows is the dialect of the card table. And let me ask thee, O professor, whether such expressions as these are fit for the lips of a Christian? One would rather think, that the very sound of them must be offensive to his ears, and drive him away from the diversion, when he knows that the whole of his phraseology is expressive of sentiments, directly opposite to the Christian doctrine of divine providence. Yea, farther,

3. Heathenish affections are the unavoidable consequence of this diversion. From hence naturally arise such motions of the soul as these; a wishing that fortune may favor us, a hope that it will, and a real dependence upon it for our success in the play; a grieving and being uneasy at our fortune, if we be particularly unlucky; and envying another whom fortune seems to favor more than us; a being pleased and rejoiced when a good hand comes to our share, and then in our minds insulting over those that are not so happy and prosperous in that respect. And as all persons know that the success of the game very much depends upon chance, therefore, so far as a person's heart is concerned with the event, by reason of his interest or honor being involved in it, so far these various affections of the soul are unavoidably moved. So that here is a vast variety of passions fixed upon chance, and excited by it. The desire is towards it, the dependence is upon it; and when it frowns, there is either a submission to it, or a fretting at it, or envying and grieving at the fortunateness of another. And it cannot but be acknowledged, that these affections, thus excited, frequently work with great strength, and visibly discover themselves in the countenance, words, and actions. Now, some of these affections are evil in themselves; such as fretfulness and envy. They all of them are generally agitated to an immoderate degree; and even these affections, such as hope, fear, submission, dependence, and joy, which are lawful in themselves, become heathenish and criminal, so far as they have fortune for their object and motive.

And were we to try at giving another turn to our account of these affections, and suppose them to be excited not by chance, but by the view of the divine decision; this would only make the matter worse, by introducing apparent profaneness. For certainly you would not choose to call the pleasure in having a good hand, thankfulness to God, nor this submission, if you have a bad hand, a submission to the divine providence? any more than you would choose to call any degree of fretfulness or envy in the game, a fretting at the divine disposal, or envying another the advantage God has given him.[2]

Look, therefore, into your own experiences under such diversions, and see how far these sentiments, this language, and these motions of heart, are chargeable upon you; and then you will be obliged to allow, that the game is very pernicious and intoxicating to you, whether you will grant the justness of the foregoing reasonings upon the nature of a lot, or no. Though one can scarcely think, that a person who finds and observes these heathenish effects upon him, should be at any loss to judge from whence they proceed; since the very nature of these evil experiences, and the very nature of the evil that is in them proclaim, that they are a practical and experimental substitution of fortune in the room of providence. Upon these principles and observations, we need not wonder, if a fondness for, and a pursuit of, this diversion produce,

4. Heathenish practices and effects. It naturally tends to make persons lose their reverence for God in the common affairs of life, to make them forget that casual events are under the disposal of the great governor of the universe, by ascribing them to chance, without looking any higher. It tends to draw off the heart from God, and to discompose the spirit for devotional exercises. It fills the mind with such imaginations, sentiments, wishes, hopes, and dependencies, as are unsuitable to a serious Christian, destructive to the power of godliness, and are a never failing hindrance to the spirit of devotion. It generally precludes the worship of God in the family and closet, or drives it into a corner. And as a relish for this diversion increases, so, in proportion, a regard to, and relish for, spiritual vital religion declines; and those that are the most attached to it, are such as live without God in the world.

All this may he turned into an address to all those that occupy themselves in these diversions. Are there any of you, whose consciences are struck by these representations and appeals? How deeply ought you to be humbled before the LORD, that you have walked in the council of the ungodly, have stood in the way of sinners, and have even sat in the seat of the scorner? Beg of God the Holy Spirit to fasten the conviction in your hearts, as a nail in a sure place, that you may be never more polluted with these corruptions.

But are there any of you, who make a profession of religion, who still are found in, and are fond of, these practices? Give me leave to expostulate matters with you: what is there in this diversion, that is so relishable and enchanting to you? Is the pleasure so great, or have you such a regard for your honor or interest at a game of cards, as to bring them into competition with your reputation as Christians, or the interest of your precious souls?

I would fain hope, that many of you dare not pursue this game with those circumstances of evil, that most do, by attending to it at unseasonable hours, with high stakes, in public, or vain and irreligious company, &c. If any of you are going on in this way, I must proclaim, there is not the fear of God before your eyes; and your profession of religion is no other than a snare to your own souls, and a means of hardening the hearts of others.

But are there not some, nay, many of you, that make no scruple of this game occasionally? You satisfy your minds with this thought, that you practice it but seldom, and that at convenient times, and in proper company, and can therefore see no harm in it, or find any bad effects from it. Come, let us seriously inquire into this matter. Though you may avoid swearing, quarrelling, bad society, and unseasonable hours in this game, does it follow, that it is therefore harmless to you? Have you never observed how unfit your frames have been for spiritual devotion after it? Have you never observed it to be a means of contracting or setting aside your family and closet duties? Have you never observed what ill effects this occasional practice has upon your children and servants! To come closer, can you avoid its polluting your own minds with uncertain imaginations, or its defiling your lips with a language contrary to the language of Canaan? For my part, I could never see that, when Christians meet together upon this amusement, they could avoid this heathenish phraseology, or these heathenish perturbations of mind in the game more than others. And although it is too natural for you to make light of these things, yet I must affirm, that these workings of affection, and these forms of language, you are led into hereby are far from being trivial crimes. I know, indeed, that things of this nature appear very trifling and inconsiderable to those who do not pay a spiritual regard to the first risings of the mind, or to the idle words they speak. But surely, if you have any considerable degree of the fear of God before your eyes, and the love of Christ in your hearts, you will think it your indispensable duty to avoid the hearing of that, which is so heathenish, and to keep yourselves from being drawn into those sentiments and affections, which such language expresses. These things have undoubtedly in them a species of enthusiasm and infatuation, as hereby the thoughts, the affections, and language, are conversant about a nonentity, (for such is chance and fortune, separate from the providence of God:) and what can be more irrational, what can debase human nature more, than for to have its hopes, desires, and dependencies, founded and fixed upon what is really nothing? And according to the rational account of what you are conversant with in these games, you have the highest reason to suspect yourselves to be guilty of, or upon the very margin of profaneness and idolatry.

I must now commit the whole to your serious consideration, and to the divine blessing, desiring you to remember, that, as it is a game so very dishonorable to professors, so very detrimental in its tendency, and so very infatuating in its influence, its lawfulness in itself must be justly suspected. It must be the safest way to abstain from it entirely; and cannot but be hazardous to practice it upon any occasion. If you would keep your consciences clear, and abstain from all appearance of evil, it is highly necessary that you should keep at a distance from this diversion, lest your ears should be defiled with heathenish sounds, your lips with heathenish language, your mind with heathenish sentiments, and your hearts with heathenish affections. And do not think it an easy matter to avoid these evils, while you fall into the practice; for, if you truly attend to and examine your own hearts, you will find it really impossible to indulge the game, and avoid the snare of it.

As for you, who go on voluntarily and presumptuously in this diversion, making it your constant practice and your great delight, to the neglect or contempt of family or closet religion; it is very evident, that you have not the fear of God before your eyes. And however easy your consciences may be in the midst of the pursuits, yet take this solemn hint along with you that for every evil thought, and for every idle word, you must give an account in the day of judgment.

 

[1] In case of necessity and importance, where we cannot, without falling into destructive contentions, decide a point in question, the LORD graciously permits us to refer the decision of the affair to himself by lot provided we do it with a proper eye to him, as the grand arbiter and disposer. Prov. xviii. 18. The lot cause the contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

[2] In other diversions, wherein the success entirety depends upon the exertion of our own skill or strength, there is no such snare; because therein our hopes or Tears, etc. are founded upon a reality, and may therefore, be very innocent. But in chance games, a person is in the utmost danger of letting his affections loose upon that, which, if it be anything, is, and can be no other, than the Divine Providence, which certainly ought not to be thus played and trifled with.