The Christian and the Theater

(Published by the American Tract Society, 1820's)

If attending on the theater is a sinful waste of time; if it
tends to dissipate the mind, and to render it indisposed
for all sober, useful, or spiritual employments; if hardly
any man living would dare to retire, and, upon his knees,
ask the blessing of God upon it before he went, or implore
the sanctified use of it after he returned; if theatrical
exhibitions are often—very often—indecent and profane,
and always demoralizing in their tendency; and if their
patrons, by every attendance upon them, encourage and
support sin as a trade; then, I ask, can a disciple of Jesus
Christ, who professes to be governed by the Spirit, and to
imitate the example of his Divine Master; who is commanded
to "live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil
world;" who is warned to have "no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to reprove them;"
who is required to "crucify the flesh, with the affections and
lusts;" and "whether he eats or drinks, or whatever he does,
to do all to the glory of God;" can a disciple of Christ, I say,
who is commanded to "shun the company of the profane,"
to "avoid the very appearance of evil," and to pray, "Lead
us not into temptation"—can HE be found in such a place
without sin; without polluting his conscience, tarnishing
his profession, and offending his God?