"How many are there who return from the amphitheater—beaten because they have been beaten for whom they shout like madmen! And they would be beaten still more, if their favorites were to win. For they would then enslave themselves to vain joy, enslave themselves to the triumph of a perverted desire—they who are already beaten by the impulse which makes them run to that place. Indeed, Brethren, how many do you think were undecided to-day as to whether they should come here or go there? And they who in this moment of hesitation reflected upon Christ and hastened to church, have overcome, not some mere human person, but the devil himself, the most vicious hounder of souls in all the world. Those, on the other hand, who in that hesitation chose rather to run to the amphitheater, have obviously been conquered by him whom the others have conquered—but conquered in Him who says, Rejoice, because I have overcome the world."
St. Augustine, Sermon 51.2 on the "Agreement of the Evangelists Matthew and Luke in the Lord's genealogy" (c. 400) = no. 1 in St. Augustine: Sermons for Christmas and Epiphany, trans. Thomas Comerford Lawler, ACW 15 (Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1952), 24 (21-70). Cf. PL 38, col. 334 (cols. 332-354), as reproduced here; and at Revue Bénédictine 91 (1981): 23-45.
"May God therefore be with you and make attractive the account you will give of these your spectacles to your friends whom you grieved to see running to the amphitheater to-day and unwilling to come to church" (22), where, "as we said by way of introduction, we are producing a spectacle for your minds" (37).