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Publick gaming by lotteries, so far from being less criminal than other species of that vice, is the worst of them all: for it abets and sanctions, as far as example and concurrence can do it, a practice which opens the door to every species of fraud and villainy; which is pregnant with the most extensive evils to the community and to individuals; which seldom fails to bring several to an untimely end, by suicide or the sentence of the law; which unsettles an iminense multitude from the honest employments of their station, to run in quest of imaginary wealth; and which exposes them to manifold temptations, unfits them for returning to their usual mode of life, and often materially injures their circumstances, breaks their spirits, sours their tempers, and excites the worst passions of which they are susceptible. Indeed, the evils, political, moral, and religious, of lotteries, are too glaring to be denied, even by those who plead necessity for continuing them; and too numerous to be recapitulated in this place. Can it therefore consist with the law of God, “ Thou shalt not "covet,” or with the character of a christian, to concur in such an iniquitous and nefarious system,' from a vain desire of irregular gain? Whatever argument proves it unlawful for two or three men to cast lots for a sum of money, or to game
in any other way, much more strongly concludes against a million of persons gaming publickly by a lottery for a month or six weeks together, to
the stagnation, in a great measure, of every other business:' whilst the gain made by government and by individuals, from the stakes deposited with them, renders it as imprudent as it is sinful in the adventurers;
individual stakes three to two on an even chance, if a covetous appeal to Providence may be called chance.?—Even Tontines seem not wholly excusable, as they constitute a kind of complicated wager about longevity, to be decided by Providence in favour of the survivors; and must therefore be equally culpable with other games of chance. Coveting other men's property contrary to the law of love, and enriching the survivors, commonly at the expence of the relatives of the deceased, are intimately connected with them; whilst they prove a strong temptation secretly to wish the death of others, for the sake of advantages which are inordinately desired and irregularly pursued.-In fine, discontent, distrust, love of wealth, pleasure, and grandeur, desire of change, the habit of wishing, and every inordinate affection, are the evils here prohibited; and we know them to be the sources of all other crimes, and of man's misery. And the command requires moderation in respect of all worldly things, submission to God, acquiescence in his will, love to
Many alterations have, since this was written, been adopted, to prevent the mischief; and perhaps these may have some effect : but the whole concern is radically and deeply evil, and nothing can possibly render it any other than eril, atrociously evil.
: Prov. xvi. 33.
his commands, and a reliance on him for the daily supply of all our wants as he sees good.
We cannot close this brief explication of the divine law, in which we find nothing redundant, nothing defective, nothing injurious, but all things holy, and just, and good,) more properly, than by the words of our church-service, ‘ Lord, have
mercy upon us,' (forgive all our past transgressions,) and write all these thy laws in our hearts, 'we beseech thee.'
On Man's situation, as a Sinner, in the present
HE apostle has defined sin to be " the transgression of the law," and whatever, in any respect or degree, deviates from that perfect rule, is sin, and exposes a man to condemnation. “By “the law,” therefore, “is the knowledge of sin :2 " the better we understand the holy, just, and good commandments of God, the more enlarged will be our acquaintance with the vast variety of sins that are continually committed, as well as with the evil and desert of every transgression: and a comprehensive knowledge of our whole duty is essential to a just estimate of our own character, or of our situation in respect to eternal judgment.
But we should not attend only to the requirements and prohibitions of the divine law: its sanctions also demand our most serious consideration. Indeed, strictly speaking, the law, as distinguished from the gospel, is merely a rule and a sanction : a rule formed by infinite wisdom, holiness, and
11 John iji. 4.
2 Rom, iii, 20.
goodness, and enforced by supreme authority; 4 sanction to be awarded by immutable justice and almighty power, according to the declarations of eternal truth. Repentance and amendment are right, and accord to the spirit of the commandment; but they make no compensation for transgression, and are not noticed by the law: and the mercy exercised by the Law-giver has reference to the provisions of another covenant. Perfect obedience is the uniform demand of the precept; condemnation inevitably follows transgression.--“Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet “ offend in one point, he is guilty of all;"” even as a man is condemned for violating one of the many statutes of the realm, in a single instance, though no other offence be charged upon him. The apostle therefore declares, that “as many as
are of the works of the law, are under the curse; " for it is written, Cursed is every one that conti"nueth not,” (during his whole life,)“ in all " things which are written in the book of the law, " to do them :2” and the moral law must at least be included in this general language. They alone, who have at all times perfectly kept the whole law, can have any claim to the reward which it proposes, for “ the man that doeth” the commandments “shall live in them,” but “the soul that “ sinneth shall die.” And as “ all have sinned, " and come short of the glory of God,” (of ren1 James ii. S-11. 3 Gal. ii. 10. Deut. xxvii, 15-26.