“…children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, ‘We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.'”
“…a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the Lord, ‘Smite me, I pray thee.’ And the man refused to smite him. Then said he… ‘Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee.’… Then he found another man, and said, ‘Smite me, I pray thee.’ And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him. So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.
And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, ‘Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold…’ And the king of Israel said unto him, ‘So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.’ And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.”
1 Kings 20:35-41
Order of Contents
Baxter, Richard – Question 114, ‘Whether Stage-Plays where the Virtuous & Vicious are Personated, be Lawful?’ [Yes] in A Christian Directory… (London: White, 1673), pt. 3, ‘Christian Ecclesiastics’, pp. 877-78
Quotes on the Lawfulness of Theater
Order of Quotes
Peter Martyr Vermigli
The Common Places… (London: Rowe, 1583), pt. 2, ch. 12, 8th Commandment, ‘Of Plays or Pastimes,’ p. 527
“But now to conclude, me thinks that those kind of [stage] plays, which serve for refreshing of men’s strength, are not utterly to be forbidden.”
Bishop Sanderson his Judgment in One View for the Settlement of the Church in Reason & Judgement, or, Special Remarks of the Life of the Renowned Dr. Sanderson… (London: Marsh, 1663), pp. 75-77 Sanderson (1587–1663) was an Anglican bishop, theologian and casuist.
“And I dare say, whosoever shall peruse with a judicious and unpartial eye most of those pamphlets, that in this daring age have been thrust into the world against… (…things of lesser regard and usefulness and more open to acception [exception] and abuse, yet so far as I can understand, unjustly condemned as things utterly unlawful, such as are lusorious lots, dancing, stage plays and some other things of like nature), when he shall have drained out the bitter invectives, unmannerly jeers, petulant guirding at those that are in authority, impertinent digressions, but above all those most bold and perverse wrestings of holy Scripture, wherewith such books are infinitely stuffed, he shall find that little poor remainder that is left behind to contain nothing but vain words and empty arguments.
For when these great undertakers have snatched up the bucklers, as if they would make it good against all comers, that such and such things are utterly unlawful, and therefore ought in all reason and conscience to bring such proofs as will come up to that conclusion: Quid dignum tanto? very seldom shall you hear from them any other arguments than such as will conclude but an inexpediency at the most, as that they are apt to give scandal, that they carry with them an appearance of evil, that they are often occasions of sin, that they are not command[ed] in the Word, and such like.
Which objections, even where they are just, are not of force (no not taken altogether, much less any of them singly) to prove a thing to be utterly unlawful. And yet are they glad many times, rather than sit out, to play very small game and to make use of arguments yet weaker than these and such as will not reach so far as to prove a bare inexpediency, as that they were invented by heathens, that they have been abused in Popery and other such like. Which to my understanding is a very strong presumption that they have taken a very weak cause in hand and such as is wholly destitute of sound proof.”
A Letter to a Lady concerning a New Playhouse (London: Downing, 1706), p. 4 Collier (1650-1726) was a non-juror, Anglican bishop and theologian who was a leader in opposing theaters in England, working for their removal.
“…I do not now affirm that it is absolutely and altogether unlawful ever to go to see a play.”
Malcom, Howard – ‘Stage Plays’ in Theological Index... (Boston: Gould & Lincoln, 1868), p. 434
“Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: and lay siege against it, and build a fort against it… Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged… This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.
Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days… and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it. And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.”
“And the Lord sent Nathan unto David… and said unto him, ‘There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds… And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man… And Nathan said to David, ‘Thou art the man.'”
2 Sam. 12:1
“Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”
3 Jn. 11
On Lots, Gambling, Dice, Games & Using Free & Contingent Causes
On the Ethics of Material Cooperation with, & Associations with Evil
On Things Indifferent (Adiaphora)