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Sums, it must be rather for the increasing his Diversion, or the better Entertainment of his Friends, than for the sake of augmenting his Stock. Thus far I say, and with 'these Restrictions, to use Play is innocent enough. But here is the Misery ; There is a fort of Men who even make a Trade of Gaming ; it is their constant Employment, whensoever they can find out Company to their Purpose ; and they venture great Sums at it, even such as may endanger their whole Fortune, if they should prove Losers. It is not their Diversion, but their serious Business; and they pursue it as industriously, as other Men do their necessary Callings. And to some indeed, this is their only Livelihood; for they have no other way of getting Bread for themselves and their Families. But this whole Thing, as thus practised, is stark naught, and abominable both in those who have Estates, and in those who have none. And whofoever makes this his. Way of living, has a sad Account to make to God Almighty.
It is one Requisite of a lawful Calling as has been already shewn) that it be sufficient to employ a Man's Time and his Talents in a Way suitable to the Ends for which they were given him.
But can there be a worse Consumption of our Time, or a greater Abuse of our Talents, than to put both of them to no greater Use than throwing a Dye, or turning a Pack of Cards? To make any Calling lawful, it is required that it should not minister in its own Nature to Sin and Impiety. But what doth more naturally minister to these purposes, than this way of Gaming we are speaking of: Or what doth more effectually tend to engage a Man in all sorts of Crimes and Immoralities? Of this we need no greater Evidence than the undecent and impetuous Paffions of all Sorts, the execrable Oaths, and Imprecations, the Lyes, and Cheats, and Cousenages, and brutish Quarrels and Contests, that do inseparably attend the Trade of Gaming.
But further, What Benefit, or what Advantage, doth from hence redound to Mankind > (for that is another Thing we ought to be satisfied in before we pronounce any Course of Life to be lawful) Why, if the Gameters will be concluded by this, they are certainly caft; for there is nothing of Good, I mean of publick Good, can possibly come from this Trade of theirs ; but on the contrary, abundance of Evil of all kinds; and that not by Accident, or through the Miscarriage of a particular Person, here or there, but by direct and necessary Consequence of the Thing itself. How many Men are undone for ever in their Morals, by being once dipp'd and initiated in this infernal Mystery? And as if damning ther Souls were not enough, how many thousand Estates have been broken and ruined ? How many Families, Wives and Children, hath it reduced to the extremest Degree of Poverty and Contempt ? Nay, what more expeditious Method hath ever been found out to bring a Man to an untimely End; whether by Poyfon, or a Quarrel, or the Gallows? In a word, the Thing is so desperate a Venture, that whofoever is once deeply engaged in it, there is little Hopes of his ever coming off without a grievous Wound, either in his Conscience or in his Eftate, if it be his good Luck to escape utter Destruction.
And after all, pray what is the Advantage Men propose to themselves in running such Risques as these? What is it which makes them venture so desperately? Is it that it is great and genteel to game high? Why, among all Men, who either have Wisdom or Sobriety, or who love their Estates, this is exploded as the most unaccountable Madness in the World. Is it the Pleasure of Gaming which tempts them? Why that is every whit as much gratified by playing for nothing, or for trifling Sums, as if they stak'd their Estates, their Wives and Children. Well then it must only he the Covetousness of Money that makes them venture so deep. This, I believe, is true, generally speaking. But then it were well if they would consider how wretchedly they defeat that Defire of Money, if it
should be their Fortune to lose, what they play for, and how miserable they must needs be thereupon. But perhaps they think not of this, their Thoughts are wholly taken up with the Hopes of winning. Why let it be fo; and suppose they have that Luck and Success they wish and hope for, are they ever the whit the richer for this? Is their Stock in the leaft increased by what they win at play? A great many wise Men will say, No. For they say that all Gain which accrues by Play, is unlawful Gain, and ought either to be refunded to the Party it is gained from, of' to be given in Charity, or to publick Uses; but by no means to be put into à Man's Stock, left the unlawful Mixture fhould corrupt the Mass of what is lawfully gotten, and make it unprosperous to the possessor, as it is often seen in the Course of the World. And this is not said altogether without Reason; for indeed it will be hard for the wittiest of the Gamefters to make out a'lawful Title to any considerable Sum which he wins by Play, tho' he win it never fo fairly. As for little petty Sums which Men stake for their Diversion, and the one is as willing to lose as the other to win, and where no Damage accrues to the Party by the Loss, these have a quite different Consideration. But as for great Sums, wherein a Man is, or ought to be, concerned, it is not so clear
that they are lawful Gain, or that a Man can, with a good Conscience, take them, or keep them, let them be never fo fairly
For in all Dealings between Man and Man, that Gain is only accounted lawful, for which there is a valuable Consideration. A Tradesman ought not to take his Customer's Money, unless he afford him Commodities to the Worth of it ; nor ought any Man to make a Gain of another, unless he either do something, or give something, that bears fome Proportion, or makes some Compensation for the Gain he makes of him. This is the standing Rule of Justice and Equity in all Dealings between Man and Man. In every lawful Gain there is a valuable Consideration. But now, in the Gain which accrues to a Man by Play, there is no such Consideration : Nay, fo far from that, that a Man cannot be a Gainer in that way, but the other whom he deals with, or who is concerned with him, must of Necessity be as much a Loser. Now surely, that cannot be a just or allowable Way of getting, which is perpetually and directly to the Hurt and Loss of another Man. Nor is this the Sense only of two or three nice and severe Casuifts, but of the wifest and best Men of all Ages and all Religions. 'Twas the old Roman Law, that all the Money which Gamesters won, should be taken from them, and employ'd upon publick Works, as being unlawfully