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A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 1 by Clarkson

For a christian was a renovated man


But

though this general thoughtlessness prevails upon this subject, and though many have fallen into these diversions as into the common customs of the world, yet benevolent and religious individuals have not allowed them to pass unnoticed, nor been backward in their censures and reproofs.

It has been matter of astonishment to some, how men, who have the powers of reason, can waste their time in galloping after dogs, in a wild and tumultuous manner, to the detriment often of their neighbours, and to the hazard of their own lives; or how men, who are capable of high intellectual enjoyments, can derive pleasure, so as to join in shouts of triumph, on account of the death of an harmless animal; or how men, who have organic feelings, and who know that other living creatures have the same, can make an amusement of that, which puts brute-animals to pain.

Good poets have spoken the language of enlightened nature upon this subject. Thomson in his Seasons, introduces the diversions of the field in the following manner.

"Here the rude clamour of the sportsman's joy, The gun fast-thund'ring, and the winded horn, Would tempt the muse to sing the rural game."

But further on he observes,

"These are not subjects for the peaceful muse; Nor will she stain with such her spotless song; Then most delighted, when

she social sees The whole mix'd animal-creation round. Alive and happy; 'Tis not joy to her This falsely cheerful barbarous game of death."

Cowper, in his task, in speaking in praise of the country, takes occasion to express his disapprobation of one of the diversions in question.

"They love the country, and none else, who seek For their own sake its silence and its shade, Delights, which who would leave, that has a heart Susceptible of pity, or a mind, Cultur'd, and capable of sober thought, For all the savage din of the swift pack And clamours of the field? Detested sport That owes its pleasures to another's pain, That feeds upon the sobs and dying shrieks Of harmless nature, dumb, but yet endued With eloquence, that agonies inspire Of silent tears, and heart-distending sighs! Vain tears alas! and sighs, that never find A corresponding tone in jovial souls!"

In these sentiments of the poets the Quakers, as a religious body, have long joined. George Fox specifically reprobated hunting and hawking, which were the field diversions of his own time. He had always shewn, as I stated in the introduction, a tender disposition to brute-animals, by reproving those, who had treated them improperly in his presence. He considered these diversions, as unworthy of the time and attention of men, who ought to have much higher objects of pursuit. He believed also, that real christians could never follow them; for a christian was a renovated man, and a renovated man could not but know the works of creation better, than to subject them to his abuse.


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