Vacationing at resorts?
(John Angell James, "The Christian Professor" 1837)
The line of distinction between the world and the
church is fast disappearing.
What shall be said of the conduct of some professing
Christians vacationing at resorts? It has become
almost one of the necessaries of life to Englishmen,
to pay an annual visit to the coast, or to one of our
inland places of resort. To say that this is wrong to
those who can afford to pay for it, is certainly not
my intention. But some professing Christians have
ruined themselves, and plunged their families into
poverty and distress, by habits of expense and
idleness, acquired by this annual excursion to the
sea. The taste of the age is for luxurious gratification,
and it is certainly one of these luxuries to while away
a week or two amidst the beauties of the coast, or
the mirthful throng of a fashionable lounging place.
I will suppose, however, that the professor can afford
the gratification; still, are not his spendings for this
enjoyment, out of all due proportion with his donations
to the cause of Christ? When did he ever give, in one
amount, to any Christian cause, what he gives, in one
amount, for his treat to his family to a resort? No, put
together all that he gives to the cause of the Lord for
a whole year, and does it equal what he spends upon
one vacation, lavishing hundreds--or thousands, in
riding into the country, or sailing on the sea, and
luxuriating in other ways on the shore.
When a world is perishing, and immortal souls are
sinking daily in crowds to perdition, a Christian
should look, with grudging eye, on almost every
dollar he spends in luxury!
Are there no 'perils for piety' in a vacation resort?
Temptations abound everywhere, entering like a
poisoned atmosphere into every place--but surely
no one will deny, that they are found in greater
number and force in those places, which fashion
has set apart for relaxation and amusement.
The mixed society to be found in such haunts of
pleasure; the amusements which are resorted to;
and the general air of wastefulness which pervades
the whole scene--are all uncongenial with the spirit
of piety, which flourishes best in silence and solitude.
Those who frequent vacation resorts, seem as though
the object of their existence is to spend it in pleasure.
Is this proper behavior for the self-denying, humble
followers of a crucified Savior?
It is indeed to be feared that some professing Christians,
when they set out on their summer's vacation, leave their
religion at home, in order that nothing may interrupt their
pursuit and enjoyment of pleasure. Many have gone to
places of fashionable resort to have their piety lastingly
injured; and some to lose it altogether. They started a
retrograde course in piety from that day when they
went joyfully and thoughtlessly to the coast in search
of recreation. Surely, surely, then, it cannot be thought
unseasonable or unnecessary to raise a warning voice,
and to make it loud and strong when it is becoming
increasingly prevalent among professing Christians to
seek in this species of gratification, a temporary release
from the "dull cares of home, and the plodding pursuits