An Arrow AGAINST Profane and Promiscuous DANCING. Drawn out of the Quiver of the SCRIPTURES.

By the Ministers of Christ at Boston in New-England.

Judg. 6. 31. Will you plead for Baal? Let him plead for himself.
Chorea est Circulus cujus Centrum est Diabolus. Gulielm: Parisiensis.

Boston; Printed by Samuel Green, and are to be Sold by Joseph Brunning. 1684

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cal Dancing, or that which is commonly called Mixt or Promiscuous Dancing, viz. of Men and Women (be they elder or younger persons) together: Now this we affirm to be utterly unlawful, and that it cannot be tollerated in such a place as New-England, without great Sin. And that it may appear, that we are not trans­ported by Affection without Judgment, let the following Arguments be weighed in the Ballance of the Sanctuary.

Arg. 1. That which the Scripture con­demns is sinful. None but Atheists will deny this Proposition: But the Scripture condemns Promiscuous Dancing. This As­sumption is proved, 1. From the Seventh Commandment. It is an Eternal Truth to be observed in expounding the Command­ments, that whenever any sin is forbidden, not only the highest acts of that sin, [...] all degrees thereof, and all occasions lead­ing thereto are prohibited. Now we can­not find one Orthodox and Judicious Di­vine, that writeth on the Commandments, but mentions Promiscuous Dancing, as a breach of the seventh Commandment, as [Page 3] being an occasion, and an incentive to that which is evil in the sight of God. Yea, this is so manifest as that the Assembly in the larger Catechism, do expresly take no­tice of Dancings, as a violation of the Commandments. It is sad, that when in times of Reformation, Children have been taught in their Cotechism, that such Dan­cing is against the Commandment of God, that now in New-England they should pra­ctically be learned the contrary. The un­chast Touches and Gesticulations used by Dancers, have a palpable tendency to that which is evil. Whereas some object, that they are not sensible of any ill motions oc­casioned in them, by being Spectators or Actors in such Saltations; we are not bound to believe all which some pretend concerning their own Mortification. But suppose it were so, if there be other per­sons, who are by Mixt Dancing drawn into sin; that's enough against it. And that many are so, Juvenal's Verses are a suffici­ent proof

[Page 4] Forsitan expectes ut [Gaditana] canor [...] Incipiat prurire chor [...], plausu (que) probatoe.

And that of Horace, Motus doceri gau­det Jonicos Matura Virgo, & Fingitur Acti­bus, jam nunc & incestos amores, &c.

2. Besides the seventh Commandment, There are other Scriptures, which seem ex­presly and particularly to condemn the Dan­cing we plead against. It is spoken of as the great sin of the Daughters of Sion, that they did walk with stretched-out necks, and with wanton eyes, walking and min­cing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet, Isa. 3. 16. Those great Interpre­ters Junius, and Rivet, and Ravanellus, con­ceive, that Scripture hath a special respect to those artificial and proud carriages which are learned in the Dancing School. And the holy Apostle Paul condemns Rioting as a vice, Rom. 13. 13. The original word Cri­tical and Accurate Expositors Interpret, as reflecting on Petulant Dancings. And ano­ther Apostle speaks not only of Excess in [Page 5] Wine, but of Revelling, as a Sin which the Gentiles before their Conversion to Christ, were generally guilty of, 1 Pet. 4. 3. The word translated Revelling, may be read Dancing. It is the same with that in the Romans, which our translation calls Riot­ing. The learned Aretius comments thus upon it; By K [...] he intends wanton Dancing, and so it is fitly mentioned after that of Ex­cess in Wine, because it was customary with the Gentiles, after they had been drinking to Excess, to fall to dancing and singing; and commonly their Songs were profane and ob­scene. Thus he, And indeed, as Ravanellus and Voetius have well observed: the Greek word K [...] (which our Translators call Ri­oting, and in Peter, Revelling) is by the most learned in the Greek Tongue, judged to intend Dancing. Thus Hesychius saith, that it is [...] And it is evident, that Pindar, the Greek Poet, doth so use the word. He saith, [...] i. e. Salta cum Hymno. Vid. Zuinger. Theatr. Vol. 2. lib. 5. p. 389.

The summe is, that according to the judgment of the most profound and accu­rate [Page 6] Interpreters; the Scripture does expresly, and by name condemn Dancing as a vicious practice. The argument stands thus, K [...] are expresly condemned in the Scripture? But mixt Dancings are K [...] Therefore they are expresly condemned in the Scripture. Also under that of Chambring, Wantoness, las­civousness Dancings are implied.

3. There are many other Scriptures which do implicitly condemn them as sinful. How of­ten does the Scripture commend unto Christians, Gravity and Sobriety, in their behaviour at all times; and condemn all Levity in Carriage. When as Dancing is (as some have expressed it) a Regular Madness. That wise Prince Alphonsus, after he had seen such things, the question being asked, What is the difference between a Dancer and a Mad-man? Replied; There was no other difference, but only this; that the person who is really Phrentick, is mad all the day long; when as the Dancer is only mad an hour in a day perhaps. Lud. Vives tells a pleasant story of certain men, who coming out of Asia into Spain, when they saw the Spaniards dance, they were so af­frighted, as to run away, supposing them [Page 7] to be possessed with some Spirit, or mad at least. And truly such affected Levity, and Antick Behaviour, when persons skip and fling about like Bedlams, as they say, Dancers are wont to do; is no way beco­ming the Gravity of a Christian. More­over, the Scripture saith, Whatsoever things are of good report, think of these, Phil. 4. 8. which implieth, that Christians ought to avoid things of evil report. But Promiscuous Dancings are so; & that not only amongst serious Christians, but even amongst the Gentiles. Their grave and wise men have branded that custom as vile, infamous, and abominable; whose words we shall hear anon. But therefore that Rule which saith, meddle not with things of bad report, forbids Christians to have any concernment with Promiscuous Dancings. Yet again the Scripture saith, Give no offence, neither to the Jew, nor to the Gentile, nor to the Church of God, 1 Cor. 10. 32. In indifferent things this precept takes place; but the implead­ed Dancing is very offensive upon more accounts than one, as will afterwards ap­pear.

[Page 8]Arg. 2. If we consider, by whom this pra­ctice of Promiscuous Dancing was first invent­ed by whom patronized, and by whom witnes­sed against, we may well conclude, that the admitting of it, in such a place as New-En­gland, will be a thing pleasing to the De­vil, but highly provoking to the Holy God.

We design to write as comprehensively as we can; and have therefore in this Ar­gument put several things together, the particulars whereof we shall endeavour to clear.

1. Who were the Inventors of Petulant Dancings? They had not their original a­mongst the People of God, but amongst the Heathen. Learned men have well ob­served, that the Devil was the first inventor of the impleaded Dances, and the Gentiles, who worshiped him, the first Practitioners in this Art. They did honour the Devils, whom they served in this way; their Festi­vals being for the most part spent in Play and Dances. And from them did the A­postatizing Idolatrous Israelites learn to be­have themselves, as they did, when they [Page 9] worshipped the Golden Calf. They sat down, to eat and drink, and rose up to play, or to dance. 1 Cor. 7. 10. Hence amongst the Greeks, Bacchus, was stiled [...] the God that loved Dancing. Their manner was, that a Company of Young Men and Women, with Musical Instruments, would Dance and Sing together, in honour of Bacchus; whom also they called by the name of K [...] which (as before was shew­ed) does from thence signifie Dancing. vid. Alting Theol. Problem. Loc. 10. p. 510. Nor is it to be wondred that those misera­bly deluded Souls, who thought and taught, that their Gods were Adulterers, did suppose that they would be delighted with such Dances; as had a tendency that way, yea, the Gentiles took such pleasure in Dan­cing, that they learned some irrational Creatures that foolish Art. In special (as Strabo in lib. 13. relates) they taught Apes to Dance. When Diana's Festival was cele­brated, Dancing Apes were brought forth to honour it. This is enough to make Christi­ans, not only deride, but detest such Vani­ties; especially considering that the Scrip­turer [Page 10] saith, Learn not the way of the Heathen. Jer. 10. 2. And that the Lords People may not do after their manners, nor imitate their Heathenish Customes, Lev. 20. 23. And that Christ came to redeem Believers from their vain Conversation, 1 Pet. 1. 18. And that they should not be conformed to this world, Rom. 12. 2.

A practice in use, only amongst the Heathen, but never known among the people of God, except in times of degeneracy, ought not to be taken up. But this is true of that practice, which we now testify against.

2. By whom have Promiscuous Dances been patronized? Truly, by the worst of the Heathen. Caligula, Nero, and such like A­theists and Epicures were delighted in them. Lucius (that infamous Apostate) hath written an Oration, in defence of pro­fane and Promiscuous Dancings. Amongst the Papists, some of their more gtave Wri­ters, decry such a practice as a great Immo­rality. Alexander Fabritius, a Learned Man, though Popishly affected, was indeed clearly convinced of the great sin which is therein. His words are worthy our ta­king [Page 11] notice of them; he thus expresseth himself. The entring into the Processions of Dances, binders men from ingress into the hea­venly Procession; and those who Dance, offend against the Sacraments of the Church. First, against Baptism; They break the Covenant which they made with God in Baptism; wherein they promised, to renounce the Devil and his Pomps; but when they enter into the Dance, they go in the Pompous Procession of the Devil. Thus that Author: But gene­rally, Popish Casuists justify it, as they do many other moral evils; so Cajetan Azo­rius, Silvester, and other Papists: The cor­rupt Schoolmen makes a light matter of it, calling it a Venial Sin: And therefore La­vater does justly upbraid the Popish Religi­on, in that their Writers do generally main­tain the lawfulness of Promiscuous Dancings. So that the Patrons of this Practice are men not sound in the Faith.

3. Who are they that have faithfully te­stified against this practice? Ignorant and Profane Men-say, no body is against it, but a few silly Precisians, who are more pre­cise than wise. But we certainly know, [Page 12] that the wisest, and the learnedest, and the holiest men in the world have disliked it. The Antient Doctors, (Fathers as they are called) have thundred against this Sin. Chrysostom in his Sermons on Genesis, treat­ing on Jacob's Marriage; Here (saith he) We read of a Wedding, but not a word of Dancing there. Yea, he sticks not to call Dancing a Diabolical Practice. And in a­nother of his Sermons; He saith, that Wherever there is a Petulant Dance, the Devil is one of the Company. And Arnobi­us does vehemently reprehend the Gen­tiles, because of their lascivious Dances. Austin doth severely tax this vice. Ambrose doth advise all Godly Parents, that would not have the Souls of their Children cor­rupted and ruined, not to send them to the Dancing-School. And how often do the Fathers call the Dance a Work of Satan, one of his Pomps and Vanities, which all bap­tized persons are bound to renounce? And not only Fathers, but whole Councils have born witness against them. So did the Oecumenical Synod at Constantinople. Also the Synod which met at Laodicea, and [Page 13] several others, absolutely prohibit all Pro­miscuous Dancings, not allowing them so much, as at Weddings. Thus it was with Christians, before the World did degene­rate again into Paganish, Heathenish Cu­stoms. We have now heard the ordinance of Antiquity discharged against the im­pleaded Dancers. A Shower of Arrows are yet behind.

As for the great Reformers of Religion, and Opposers of Antichristianism, none have gone beyond them, in an Holy Zeal against Profane and Promiscuous Dancing. Let us in the first place, cite the Waldenses: They are in the Scripture, honoured with the name of Saints, Rev. 13. 7. These Saints of God, and Martyrs of Jesus, were haters of Mixt Dances. Because their words are Pa­thetical; we shall here transcribe and in­sert them, as we find them mentioned by Perrin, in his History of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Waldenses, p. 63. They thus testify: A Dance is the Devils Proces­sion. He that enters into a Dance, enters into his Possession. The Devil is the Guide, the mid­dle and the end of the Dance A man sinneth in [Page 14] Dancing divers wayes; as in his Pace, for all his steps are numbred; in his Touch, in his Ornaments, in his Hearing, sight, Speech, and other Vanities. We will prove first from Scripture, and then by other Reasons, how wick­ed a thing it is to Dance.—He that Danceth, maintaineth the Devil's Pomp, and singeth his Mass. Again, In a Dance, a man breaks the Ten Commandments of God. The very motion of the Body, which is used in Dancing, giveth Testimony enough of evil. Austin saith, The miserable Dancer knoweth not, that as many Paces, as he makes in Dancing, so many steps he makes to Hell. Thus (and much more to this purpose) do those faithful Witnesses of Christ, declare against this Profane Practice. Moreover, the Mini­sters of the Reformed Churches in France, did above an hundred years ago, (viz. An­no 1581.) concur in writing, and publish­ing a Book, against the vice we are im­pleading. Also Venerable Calvin, Marlorat, Lavater, Danoeus, Tilenus, Polanus, Zeppe­rus; all condemn it as utterly unlawful. Peter Martyr and Aretius in their com­mon places, do elaborately discourse a­bout [Page 15] mixed Dancing, and prove it to be an unlawful Recreation. The Judicious River saith, that such Dancings as teach wanton­ness in looks, or pride in behaviour, as he thinks almost all the Saltations do, which are now adayes Artificially learned in the Dancing-Schools, are breaches of the seventh Commandment, and ought not to be tole­rated in any Christian Common-wealth. The great Voetius hath lately, and (accor­ding to his wonted manner) with very much learning and strength of reason, proved that such Exercises are very sinful. The like has been done by the Excellent Altingius, Amongst our English Divines there is a cloud of Witnesses. There are three Bishops who have written against Promiscuous Dancing as unlawful; so Dr. Downham, Babington and Andrews, and one Arch-Bishop (tho we confess a Puritanical one) viz. the incom­parable Usher, hath given his Testimony against Vanities of this kind. Besides these Dr. Rainold, Dr. Ames, Mr. Perkins. Mr. Dod, Mr. Elton, Mr. Bolton, Mr. Brinsley, Mr. Durham and others have abundantly proved it to be unlawful. Also Mr. Pri [...] [Page 16] has in his Histrio Mastix, a large discourse on this subject. Whoso shall please to read him, will find that good men have been very severe in their censure on Dancers. He will there see it affirmed, that mixed Danc­ing is a Recreation fitter for Pagans & whores & Drunkards than for Christians: And that the Gate of Heaven is too strait for a Chore of impure Dancers to enter in thereat: & that such Capring Goais will not be found amongst Sheep at the last Day, with many the like severe expressions. So odious was this practice Practice in former times, when Debauchery and Atheism had not obtained that Credit which this Adulterous Genera­tion has put upon it.

Arg. 3. That Practice which the Graver sort of Heathen have condemned as unlawful, Christians may well look upon as Sinful, Rom. 2. 14, 15. But this is true concerning mixed Dancing; as shall by Testimony be made to appear.

Macrobius informs us, that amongst the Antient Romans skil in Dancing was repu­ted an infamous thing. Scipio Africanus complains that some in his time would go [Page 17] with impudent Dancers (as he calls them) and learn to sing with them, Which pra­ctice their Ancestors looked upon as a dis­grace to Gentlemen. He therefore speaks of it as a great degeneracy of that Age, that some being Persons of Quality, sent their Children to a Dancing-school, and that he had himself seen at one of their Schools, a Boy of twelve years old Dancing, which he thought was a fitter employment for a lewd and foolish serving-boy, than for the Son of a Gentleman. And Salust (that brave Roman Historian) layeth it as a Brand of Infamy upon Sempronia, that she had been taught to Dance, which he says was a sign of dishonesty; such a practice being the in­strument of Luxury. And Cicero in his Ora­tion Pro Muroena saith, that if a Man be as Dancer, he is doubtless either a Drunkard or a mad man. Nemo saltat sobrius nis [...] for­te insaniat. He blames Cato for having such hard thoughts of Muroena, as to suppose him guilty of Dancing. For (saith he) if he be a Dancer, without doubt he is a bad man indeed, since that Vice never goeth alone. [...]le saith of Gabinius and Antonius that they [Page 18] must needs be vicious persons, because they were Dancers. Seneca bewails it, that in his time young Ones were corrupted with Obscene Dances; and that Dancing-schools were tolerated in the City, and that some when they were inflamed at the Dance, went from the Dancing-school to the Brothel house. Priamus severely reproved his sons because he understood they were [...] i. e. Dancers, Plutarch in his Description of a Vertuous Woman, mentions this as a Ne­gative qualification, that she must not be a Dancer. Understand him and the other Authors cited, as speaking of Promiscuous Dances. The Emperor Tiberius banished Dancers, not only from his Court, but out of the City of Rome.

Now then, shall the Gentiles, who had only the dark Light of Nature to shew them what things are good & what evil; condemn Petulant dancings? And shall Christians who have the Scriptures and the Glorious Light of the Gospel to illuminate them, practise or plead for such works of Darkness? And shall that Abomination be set up in New-Eng­land (the place where the Light of the [Page 19] Gospel has shined so Gloriously) which Mo­ral Heathen have detested? The Lord lay not this great sin to the charge of any, who have at all been guilty of it.

Arg. 4. The practice which is not sancti­fied by Prayer, but is an Enemy to Religious Exercises, is surely an evil Practice. But this is true concerning mixt dancing. It is a good Rule which Practical and Casuistical Divines are wont to give, That work which a Man cannot pray over, let him not meddle with. A Christian should do nothing wherein he cannot exercise Grace, or put a respect of Obedience to God on what he does. This in lawful Recreations may be done. 1 Cor. 10. 31 But who can seriously pray to the Holy God to be with him when he is going to a Pro­miscuous dance? It is that which hinders Religious Exercises, especially for persons to go immediately from hearing a Sermon to a Gunecandrical Dance. It is an high de­gree of profaneness, an impudent contempt put upon the Gospel. The Devil thereby catcheth away the good seed of the Word, and the former Religious Exercise is ren­dered ineffectual. Some that write against [Page 20] dances, observe, that many young persons who seemed to be hopeful, and to have some good beginnings of Piety in them, by falling into ac­quaintance with that unlawful Recreation, have in a little time utterly left all savour of good; it being just with God, when they have forsaken him to follow the Devils Pomps and Vanities, to withdraw his Holy Spirit from them, and ju­dicially give them up to mind nothing else but Folly. The Lord grant that none amongst our selves may find the observation true.

Arg. 5. For Persons to Dance at a Time when God calls them to mourn, is certainly unlawful. But such is the case at this Day. If the thing were in at self lawful (which the Arguments insisted on prove that it is not) yet to set upon such a pra­ctice at such a time, must needs be a great pro­vocation to the sight of God. Dancers are wont to alledge that Scripture, Eccl. 3. 4. There is a Time to Dance, (though that does not speak a syllable for the Justification of such Dancing as we are writing against, nor indeed for any other Dancing, since the meaning of the place is not that there is a lawful time, but only a limited time to Dance.) But they should consider that There is a Time to mourn. Now to set up Dances at a Time when Gods calls to mourn, is most cer­tainly a provocation. There was a Time when God by his Prophet said, Hear the Word of the Lord, O ye Women, and teach your daughters wai [...] [Page 21] Jer. 9. 20. And so does he speak by his pro­vidence at this day: But at a Time when God saith, Teach your Daughters wailing, shall we say no, We will teach them Dancing? There is a wo pronounced upon them that are at ease in Sion, and who at a season when they should be grie­ved for the Affliction of Joseph, are Chanting to the sound of the Visl, Amos 6. 5. Every body knows that it is a time of much Affliction with the Church of God in the World. They that begin a Dance now, give but a poor evidence of their belonging to the Mystical Body of Christ, when they do no more sympathize with its sor­row. Is this a Time for Jigs and Galiards! Let us recommend to such persons the serious Con­sideration of that Scripture, Isa. 22. 12, 13, 14. In that Day did the Lord God of Hosts call to weep­ing and to mourning. And behold Joy and Gladness, Let us Eat and Drink, for to morrow we shall Die. It was revealed in mine Ears by the Lord of Hosts, surely this Iniquity shall not be purged from you till you Die, saith the Lord of Hosts. The Judgments of God are abroad in the World, and hanging over our own heads too. Should we then make Mirth? Ezek. 21. 10. Blessed Mr. Cotton, tho he be dead (and hath been so 33. years) yet speaketh. He hath left behind him this Testi­mony (in his Book on Eccl. 3. 4.) To Dance though at Marriages is unmeet, especially in N. E. And at such a Time as this, when the Churches are in [Page 22] Distress. Should he rise out of his Tomb (which is here amongst us) how would his Holy Soul be grieved to behold such Degeneracy in this Boston.

Arg. 6. That Practice against which the wrath of God hath been revealed from Heaven, may well be dreaded as unrighteous. Rom. 1. 18. But this is sadly true concerning mixt Dancings. The Fruits and Effects thereof have been Tragical & Dis­mal. No doubt but that the Promiscuous Dances (for at their Sacrifices the Heathen used to do so) between the Moabites and the Midianitish Woman, proved a snare to the Children of Israel. But how terrible a Plague followed? Rivet, Ra­vanellus and others conclude that Dinah went to see a Dance among the Shechemites; if her good Father had not indulged her that liberty, he had saved her from Ruine, and himself and Family from great Reproach. Salome, the Daughter of Herodias was notable at Dancing! But what end did she come to? Nicepho [...] re­lates that falling under the Ice, her feet Capered under the water; and her Head being cut off by the Ice, it danced above water. The Story of that Bishop is famous, who having a Mixed Dance in his House, he and the female in his hand hapned to be crush'd to Death. Also in the City of Magdeburg. 24 Persons (Men and Women) were struck dead with the Lightnings as they were Promiscuously Dancing. See [...] [Page 23] Theater of Judgments, Chap. 36. Hereby may we understand that such Men have provoked the Lord, Numb. 16. 30. Histories have many other tragical stories confirming this Argument, which we forbear to mention. It is known from their own Confessions that amongst the Indians in this America, oftentimes at their [...] the Devil appears in bodily shape, and [...] away one of them alive. In some places of this Wil­derness there are great heaps of Stones, which the Indians have laid together, as an horrid Re­membrance of so hideous a fruit of their Satani­cal Dances. The Writer of Magica de Spectris, observes, That there was hardly any meeting betwixt the Devil and Witches wherein there was no Dancing.

But let us hear what the Patrons of Dances have to plead. Produce your Cause, and bring forth your strong Reasons, saith the Lord. Say all that you have to say.

Plea. 1. We Read in the Scripture of Dances. Miriam Danced, and David Danced.

Answ. 1. Those Instances are not at all to the purpose; for they were Religious Dances accommodated to the State of the Old Testa­ment-Church. They had also Musick in the [...] worship, but such as have so in these dayes J [...]daize more than Christians ought to do, [...] should divert into another Question, should [...] speak to that.

[Page 24]2. Neither were those mentioned, Mixed dan­cings: It is said of Miriam, The Woman went out after her with Dances, Exod. 15. 20. But not that Men went out with them: Nor did David take a Woman by the hand to Dance with him be­fore the Ark. In one Word, there is not so much as one Example in the whole Book of God con­cerning mixt dancing, except it be the Instance of that accursed and damned Harlot the Daugh­ter of Herodias.

Plea. 2. The Design of Dancing is only to teach Children good Behaviour and decent Carriage.

Ans. Religion is no Enemy to good Manners, to learn a due Poyse and Composure of Body is not unlawful, provided it be done without a provocation to Uncleanness, and be not a Nurse of Pride and Vanity. If therefore any be dispo­sed to have their Children instructed in that which may be truely Ornamental, or a desire­able Accomplishment in these respects, they may send them not to a Blasphemer, but to some Grave Person that will teach them Decency of Behaviour, not Promiscuously, but each Sex by themselves; so neither God nor Man will be offended.

This notwithstanding, Every thing is not Good Carriage; which Light and Vain Persons shall call so. Why should Pantomimical Gestures be named good Carriage. There is a behaviour [Page 25] which Light Persons look upon as an accom­plishment; but such as are grave and solid, and wise (whose esteem is most to be valued) have other thoughts of it. If the Holy Prophet Isaiah were alive in these dayes, he would not call a stretched forth neck, and wanton eye, a Min­cing as they go, by the name of good carriage. It is one of the Devil's Wiles to Guild over corrupt Practices with Golden Names, that men may the more easily swallow them. In this debauched Age; frequent Osculations amongst those that are not in any Conjugal Relation, is called good Breeding, Gentile behaviour, and the like. But Christians ought to hate such tendencies to Nicolaitism, for Christ hates them, Rev. 2. 6.

Plea 3. Children are much pleased with this Ex­ercise. Ans. That we believe: But if it suit with their corrupt natures, that's a sign it is evil. No doubt but that if a Stage play were set up, many Children would be as much pleased with it, as now they are with the Dance. If a Blas­phemer shall tell them, There's as good Divinity to be learned by a Play as by the Scripture it self, perhaps they may be debauched into the belief of it, if ever they should see Scripture-sto­ries acted in a Play, which indeed is a profane Practice common amongst the Papists, but pro­hibited in Reformed Churches under pain of the highest censure. The Lord saith, Seek not after your own heart and your own wayes, after [Page 26] which you use to go an whoring, Numb. 15. 35.

Plea. 4. Such dancing is now become customary amongst Christians. Ans. Which cannot be thought on without horror. A great and Learned Di­vine takes notice of it as a very sad thing, that all the profane Dances in use amongst the La­scivious Greeks of Old, have of late years been revived in the Christian World; yea, and in Places where the Reformed Religion has taught men better. But shall Christians follow the course of the World? They ought to swim a­gainst the stream, and to keep themselves pure from the sins of the Times of which this of mix­ed dancing is none of the least.

Plea. 5. Some good men think it is lawful! Ans. We are not to walk by the Opinion of this or that good Man, but by the Scriptures. To the Law and to the Testimony, if they speak not ac­cording to that there is no light in them. Fearful Judgments have befallen a Professing People for doing such things as some good Men through error of Judgment have approved of. We dare not deny, that there have been some good Men in the world, who have been so far misled as to justify Profanations of the Lords Day. And Lutherans have pleaded for Graven Images, contrary to the second Commandment. But should such things be tolerated in N. E. we have reason to believe that the hot displeasure of God would soon burn against us. Besides, [Page 27] it is more than we know, if one good man hath written in defence of mixt Dancings. One that hath written against Dancers, giveth his Book this Title, The Church of ungodly Men and Women whose King is Lucifer. But we cannot call to mind one Protestant Author who has been real for the interest of Reformation, that has set his Pen on work to plead for a practice so vile and infamous. This Objection turns upon Dancers thus, That practice with Holy Men in all ages have abhorred may well be suspected to be an evil practice: But it was shewed that this is true of promiscuous Dancing. We shall then conclude this Discourse with a double Corollary.

Corol. 1. It is the Duty of Churches to exercise the Discipline of Christ towards such of their Mem­bers as shall offend in this matter. The Rule is clear and written with the Beams of the Sun, 2 Thes. 3. 6. We command you, Brethren, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw your selves from every Brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the Tradition which he received from us. Now they that frequent Promiscuous Dan­cings, or that send their Children thereunto, walk disorderly, and contrary to the Apostles Doctrine. It has been proved that such a pra­ctice is a Scandalous Immorality, and therefore to be removed out of Churches by Discipline, which is the Broom of Christ, whereby he keeps his Churches clean. Zepperus and others [Page 28] observe that it was by this means, that Churches in the Primitive times were preserved from this corruption. And thus it hath been in the Re­formed Churches. The National Synod held at Dort, Anno 1578. thus express themselves, Because Dances are for the most part attended with a Levity unbecoming Christians, and are an offence to the Godly, especially when practised in a time of common Danger and Calamity, they that go to Dan­ces, shall be reproved, and if after divers Admoni­tions they persist therein, they are to be excluded from Communion. And several Provincial As­semblies in Holland, have declared that the sword of Discipline ought to be brandished again such Offenders, as Voetius testifieth (In Disput, de ex­celsis mundi, p. 346, 347.) And the Reforming Synods in Poland above an hundred years ago, did absolutely prohibit these Dances, and pre­scribe the use of Discipline against that evil: Once more in the printed Discipline of the Re­formed Churches in France, p. 45. They have this Article, Dancing is to suppressed, and those that take the liberty or custom to Dance after they have been several times Admonished shall be Excom­municated, when they shew themselves obstinate in their Rebellion. And the Consistories are exhorted well to put this Article into Execution, and to read the same publickly in the Name of God, and in the Authority of the Synods, and the said Synods and Conferences are exhorted to take heed of and warn [Page 29] those Consistories that therein do not their Duties, to censure the Offenders for it.

And shall Churches in N. E. who have had a Name to be stricter and purer than other Chur­ches, suffer such a scandalous evil amongst them? if all that are under Discipline be made sensible of this matter, we shall not be much or long in­fested with a Choreutical Daemon.

Corol. 2. Such Church-Members in N. E. as have sent their Children to be Practitioners or Spe­ctators of mixt Dancing between young Men and Maidens, have cause to be deeply humbled. But stand still a while! what a word is here! Church-Members and their Children in N. E. at mixt Dan­ces! Be astonished O ye Heavens! without doubt A­braham is ignorant of us, and Israel knoweth us not. If our Fathers should rise out of their Graves, they would not own such Children. It has been observed by several learned & holy Men that Job giveth it as the Description and Character of ungodly ones: They send forth their little ones like a Flock, and their Children Dance, they take the Timbrel and Harp, and rejoyce at the sound of the Organs, Job 21. 11, 12. Mr. Caryls note on those words is, That worldly men breed their Children vainly. This is all their Religion. The Catechism which Wicked men teach their Children is to Dance and to Sing. Not that Dancing, or Musick, or Singing are in them­selves sinful: but if the Dancing Master be wick­ed [Page 30] they are commonly abused to lasciviousness, and that makes them to become abominable. But will you that are Professors of Religion have your Children to be thus taught? the Lord ex­pects that you should give the Children who are Baptized into his Name another kind of Edu­cation, that you should bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord: And do you not hear the Lord Expostulating the case with you, and saying, you have taken my Chil­dren, the Children that were given unto me; the Children that were solemnly engaged to re­nounce the Pomps of Satan; but is this a light matter that you have taken these my Children, and initiated them in the Pomps and Vanities of the Wicked one, contrary to your Covenant? What will you say in the day of the Lords plead­ing with you? we have that charity for you as to believe that you have erred through Ignorance, and not wickedly: and we have therefore ac­counted it our Duty to inform you in the Truth. If you resolve not on Reformation, you will be left inexcusable. However it shall be, we have now given our Testimony and delivered our own Souls. Consider what we say, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.


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