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THOUGUI it bemy opinion, that the sport of cock-fighting is abso
lutely sinful, yet I would not have thee think, as the vulgar will be ready to say, that I esteem as unregenerate all those who are of a contrary judgment; I do not so little consider that of the apostle, “ in many things we offend all:” And certainly, the immediate cause of our offences, the perversness of the will, always proceeds from the understanding, or judgment perverted, in apprehending any thing the wrong way, by which it is inclined to accept, or refuse the object, or thing proposed : But, though I do pot conceive that the ignorance of the iin piety of this sport is alto. gether inconsistent with a regenerate state, or the babit of true godliness, in some degree, yet I am not afraid to make known to the world, that I cannot imagine how any man, whilst he is actu. ally like unto God, the Father of Mercies, can possibly delight and recreate himself, in seeing his fellow-creatures (which are infi. nitely less inferior to us, than we to our, and their Creator) so subtle and active to wound and destroy each other. Having this opinion of the sport of cock-fights, and seeing it so frequently used in the country where I live, no man, that I can hear of, opposing it as absolutely sinful, I could not retain the confidence I have, that I am, indeed, a faithful servant of the great God in the gospel of his Son, and a true lover of the souls of men, if I should not venture to oppose it myself; though I am not ignorant, that, en. deavouring to destroy this common opinion, that this sport is not meet for christians, I must necessarily expect to be counted a fool. hurdy and imprudent fellow. Methinks I hear many men sayiug unto me, appearing in publick upon this occasion, as Eliab, 1 Sam. xvii. 28, said to his brother David, “ I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart.” This, indeed, would some what disturb me, if I did not consider, that omniscience is one of the attributes of the God whom I serve.
Thinking with myself, what means I should use to effect this design, to convince the world, that the tem per and disposition of any inan's soul, whilst he actually delights in such a sport, must necessarily be offensive to God; at last I considered, though it be my opinion, that for any man, who has attained to a competent degree of the art of expression, to publish those notions which he bas gathered from his own experience of such christian truths, as are, in some sort, generally believed, in his own words, is a work most acceptable to the God of truth; for, certainly, those notions of spiritual things which fix themselves, and reside in the head only of the generality of those who are called christians, are usually giided unto the heart by such expressions of the same things, as come from the hearts of others : Yet, I say, at last I considered that truths of this nature, which are like to find so much opposi. tion, will hardly be received by any, who now oppose them, unless they be brought in, as it were, with drum and trumpet; I mean, by the hands of some famous and excellent writers; and therefore I would not, at present, write of this subject, any more
than only to speak my opinion, but have rather chosen to shew the world, what some eminent divines havc written of it, which I conceive was never yet read and considered by any of those who de. light in such sports, and profess to walk as Christ walked.
And here, in the name of a christian, I call to my aid (in endeavoaring to evince this, that such a tempet, as may actually consist with a delight in such sports, must needs be unchristian) all those who are of the same opinion, and, withal, are conscious to themselves, that God has given them an art of persuasion, an ability of conveying their own thoughts into the breasts of others, not only of those who are simply void of them, but of those also who oppngn and resist them : Such men I entreat upon all occasions; to manifest their dislike of such sports, and their reasons for it.
If these papers shall chance to be seen by the worthy and renowned author of the Whole Daty of Man, I shall humbly intreat him, as one who serves with him under Christ, the Captain of our salvation, to afford me some aid in this combate with the world, if he be of the same judgment, as, by his works, I presume he is. I doubt not, but the small thoughts and fancies, which those, who delight in this sport, are apt to conceive in favour of it, which a risc in their minds, like mists and dark vapoars, to obscure the reason of any thing they can ordinarily hear spoken against it, would suddeniy vanish, like a morning cloud, when the sun anpears, if it should be opposed by so noble a person; whose style, Like a diamond, is bright and solid; whose excellent rhetorick, and beauty of expression, does not, like weaker beauty, consist chiefly in colour and complexion (in words, which are so apt to take, as they say) but in symmetry and exact proportion. And I hope, the amiable subjeet of his beauteous expressions will, in time, by the help of God's spirit, draw into itself the love of many, who, as yet, are lovers of the world. If the thoughts I have expressed of this sport be not suitable to his, I desire to be better informed by him: For, I must profess, at present, it scandals me extremely to see christians, those who profess to have their bosoms a nest for the heavenly dove, to be companions of the Lamb of God, to recreate themselves in blood, though it be of the meanest creatures ; and to me no man's reason seems more strong, or expression more clear, than what i find in the writings of this excellent person: So that, whatever he shall be pleased to write on this subject, it will either make me see myself in an error, or lead me on further in the way of truth; if my opinion be true indeed, which, as yet, I have no reason to doubt, but that so many speak against it.
All that I have to say farther is this, that, if I did not as much despise the shame, as I am thought to desire the praise of tho world, I would rather lose the hand I write with, than employ my pen upon such an occasion.
But I fear not the terms of fool, or madman: It was said of my Saviour,“ lle hath a devil.” My Lord was reviled, shall I be applauded? What greater comfort
can a christian have, than in thinking how like he is to the Lord of Glory, not only in what he did, but even also in what he suffered.
of Cock-Fights, and such like Sports. "The baiting of the bear, and cock-fights, are no meet recrea. (tions. The baiting of the bull bath its use, and therefore it is commanded by civil authority, and so have not these : And the antipathy, and cruelty, which one beast shewcth to another, is - the fruit of our rebellion against God, and should rather more as
to mourn, than to rejoice' These are the words of the most learned and godly Mr. Perkins, in that famous treatise of the Cases of Conscience, printed in quarto, A. D-32, p. 346.
That man of God, Mr. Bolton, was of the same mind with Mr. Perkins, concerning such sports: “Consider,' says he (in his ex. cellent treatise, intituled, General Directions for a comfortable Walking with God, p. 156) that rule which divines give about 6 recreations: We must not make God's judgments and punish'ments, either upou man or beast, the matter and object of them. • Now, the best divines hold, that enmity amongst themselves was "a fruit of our rebellion against God, and more general judgment inflicted upon the creature after the fall. Which misery coming • upon them by our means, should rather break our hearts, and
make them bleed, than minister matter of glorying in our shame, "and vexing those very vexations which our impiety hath put upon them. Alas, sinful man! what an heart hast thou, that canst take delight in the cruel tormenting of a dumb creature? Is it 6 not too much for thee to behold, with dry eyes, that which only
thy sin hath impressed upon it, but that thou must barbarously * also press its oppressions, and make thyself merry with the bleed. sing miseries of that poor harmless thing, which in its kind is much more, and far better serviceable to the Creator than thyself? Yet I deny not, but that there may be another lawful use of this an. tipathy, for the destroying of hurtful, and the enjoying of use, "fol creatures ; so that it be without any taint or aspersion of cru. elty on our parts, or needless tormenting of the silly beasts.'
Mr. Dod, and Mr. Cleaver (scorned by none but those whose revilings are praises) in their exposition of these words of Solo. mon, Prov. xii. 10, “ A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast,” having spoken against the hard usage of labouring beasts, as horses, &c. conclude thus : ' And yet, in another sort, more • extremity than this is used against other sorts of creatures, and
that is, when mon make a sport of making them miserable; when it is a pleasure to put them to pain; when it is a pass-time to be. " hold their tormest and tearing. This procecdeth not of a tender heart ; this is not the work of righteousness; this delight will leave no comfort behind it. Have our sins in Adam brought such 6 calamities upon them, and shall we add unto them by cruelty in our own persons? Have our corruptions becn a cause of ihat
« fierceness that is in many of them one against another, and shall we solace ourselves in seeing them execute it?'
What holy Chrysostome would have said of this sport, if he had had an occasion to treat of it, we may easily gather from these words in his twenty-ninth Homily on the Epistle to the Ro. mans : Σφόδρα εισιν αι των αγίων ψυχαί ήμεροι, και φιλανθρωποι, και περί τες οικείες, και περί τους αλλοτρίες. Και μέχρι των αλόγων αυτων ταύτην εκτέίνεσι τον ημερότηλα και δια τατο και σοφός τις έλεγε: Δίκαιο- οικείρει ψυχας κληνων αυτ8. .
The souls of those, that are truly pious, are exceeding mild and gentle, not only towards relations, but strangers also. And this Jenity, or softness of heart, they extend even to irrational creatures. Therefore the wise man saith, “ A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast,” Prov. xii. 10.
To all those who affect this Sport. SIRS, Having shewn you what these men thought of the sport you affect, I shall intreat you, if you believe sin tø be a matter of eter: nal concernment, to consider seriously what here you have read. If you are not convinced at present, that these learned and godly men were in the right, yet I doubt not but you will be in time, if you more fully consider the matter without prejudice : At least, if you are regenerate persons : For, I conceive, by the instinct of the new creature, a man may often perceive that to be a sin, whose sinfulness is not capable of any express, or verbal, demonstration, viz, apprehending it so to be merely through a sense of the antipathy it has to that in him, which he knows is born of God, whether or no this be but a fanatick notion; and whether or no the printing of these papers, and such like actions of mine, be indeed so foolish, and imprudent, as the world judges them to be, I will appeal only for my own satisfaction to the only wise God. Yet I shall not deny to render an account of any of my actions, in which I do, and must usually thwart the example of the generality of men, good and bad, to any man, whose authority obliges him, in any respect, to demand it of me, as my lawful superior, or conscience, as my fellow christian.
THE PERFECT PATH TO WORLDLY HAPPINESS;
Mr. HUGH PETERS, lately deceased.
By I. C. Translator of Pineda upon Job, and one of the Triers.
Gusman. lib. 1. cap. li. vers. 4.
London : Printed in the year 1659. Quarto, containing fourteen pages. After they had sung the two first Staves of the tenth Hymn of Larner's twelve
Songs of Sion, to the Tune of, The Knave of Clubs, the Parsun proceeded in bis Text as followeth :
Gusman, lib. II. chap. iii. verse 26. the latter Part of the Words.
BELOVED, THE scope of this reverend divine is, in these words, to hold
forth unto us the excellency of human wit and policy in this self-seeking and deceitful world. And indeed I hope I have not made a wrong choice of my text, not knowing any one whereon I could better ground the praises of our departed brother here before us; you all knowing how great a disciple of our Author he was, being indeed the very pattern and exemplar of his godly and religious life. But now, to explain the words aright, we shall deal with them as joiners do with court cupboards, and round tables, first pull them asunder, and then put them together again : I use this comparison, that you may know me to be a man of trade, that is to say, one that trades in the word, or, if you will have it other. wise, a holder-forth, according to the last and most sanctified In. stitution. First, then, you have an exhortation in these words, Let us; secondly, the time given us to make use thereof, while we live; thirdly, the thing to which we are exhorted, that is, to make use of our time; and lastly, the supreme reason of this exhortation, for a man's life is ended in a day. Let us, while we live, make use of our time, for a man's life is ended in a day. First, then, of the first, that is to say, of the words, Let us: But here you must give me leave to excuse the great abuses that have been put upon these two poor innocent monosyllables. I confess they have been crummed thicker than Habakkuk’s brown loaf into the porridge of the Cavaliers, commonly called the Common-Prayer Book, when they cry, Let us pray, Let us kneel; but believe it, my be.