Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

tishness and remaining stupidity of habitual, or of the last night's drunkenness. For Christ forbids both the actual and the habitual intemperance; not only the effect of it, but also the affection to it: for in oth there is sin. He nat drinks but little, if that little makes him drunk, and if he know beforehand his own infirmity, is guilty of surfeiting, not of drunkenness d. But he that drinks much, and is strong to bear it, and is not deprived of his reason violently, is guilty of the sin of drunkenness. It is a sin, not to prevent such uncharitable effects upon the body and understanding : and therefore a man that loves not the drink, is guilty of surfeiting, if he does not watch to prevent the evil effect : and it is a sin, and the greater of the two, inordinately to love or to use the drink, though the surfeiting or violence do not follow. Good therefore is the counsel of the Son of Sirach, “Shew not thy valiantness in wine; for wine hath destroyed

manye.”

Evil consequents to Drunkenness. The evils and sad consequents of drunkenness (the consideration of which are as so many arguments to avoid the sin) are to this sense reckoned by the writers of holy Scripture, and other wise personages of the world. 1. It causeth woes and mischief', wounds and sorrow, sin and shame 8; it maketh bitterness of spirit, brawling and quarrelling; it increaseth rage and lesseneth strength; it maketh red eyes, and a loose and babbling tongue. 2. It particularly ministers to lust, and yet disables the body; so that in effect it makes man wanton as a satyr, and impotent as age. And Solomon, in enumerating the evils of this vice, adds this to the account", "thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things :” as if the drunkard were only desire, and then impatience, muttering and enjoying like an eunuch embracing a woman. 3. It besots and hinders the actions of the understanding, making a man brutish in his passions, and a fool in his reason; and differs nothing from madness,

[ocr errors]

Κραιπάλη από προτεραίας aut από χθιζής οινοποσίας. Schol. in Αristoph. Ιdem fere apud Plutarch. Vinolent animi quandam remissionem et levitatem, ebrietas futilitatem significat. Plutarch. de Garrul. • Ecclus. xxxi. 25.

f Prov. xxiii. 29. Ecclus. xxxi. 26. & Multa faciunt ebrii, quibus sobrii erubescunt. Senec. ep. 83. 17. h Prov. xxiii. 33.

VOL. IV.

F

but that it is voluntary, and so is an equal evil in nature, and a worse in manners i 4. It takes off all the guards, and lets loose the reins of all those evils, to which a man is by his nature or by his evil oustoms inclined, and from which he is restrained by reason and severe principles. Drunkenness calls off the watchmen from their towers; and then all the evils, that can proceed from a loose heart, and an untied tongue, and a dissolute spirit, and an unguarded, unlimited will, all that we may put upon the accounts of drunkenness. 5. It extinguisheth and quenches the Spirit of God, for no man can be filled with the Spirit of God and with wine at the same time. And therefore St. Paul makes them exclusive of each otherk. “ Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess ; but be filled with the Spirit'.” And since Joseph's cup was put into Benjamin's sack, no man had a divining goblet. 6. It opens all the sanctuaries of nature, and discovers the nakedness of the soul, all its weaknesses and follies; it multiplies sins and discovers them; it makes a man incapable of being a private friend, or a public counsellor. 7. It taketh a man's soul into slavery and imprisonment more than any vice whatsoever m, because it disarms a man of all his reason and his wisdom, whereby he might be cured, and therefore commonly it grows upon him with age; a drunkard being still more a fool and less a man. I need not add any

sad amples, since all story and all ages have too many of them. Ammon was slain by his brother Absalom, when he was warm and high with wine. Simon the high priest and two of his sons were slain by their brother at a drunken feast. Holofernes was drunk when Judith slew him: and all the great things that Daniel spake of Alexander”, were drowned with a surfeit of one night's intemperance: and the drunkenness

[ocr errors]

ex

i Insaniæ comes est ira, contubernalis ebrietas. Plutarch.

Corpus onustum
Hesternis vitiis animum quoque prægravat. Horat.

Ebrietas est voluntaria insania. Senec. * Ephes. v. 18.

1 Οινός σε τρώει μελιώδης, ός τε και άλλους

Βλάπτει, ός άν μιν χανδόν έλη μηδ' αίσιμα σίνη. Ηomer. Οd. φ. 293. m Prov. xxxi, 4. Ουδείς δε μεθύων, άν σκοπής, "Ος ουχί δούλός έστι του πεπωκέναι.

Philem. p. 344. ed. Clerc. n Alexandrum intemperantia bibendi, et ille Herculanus ac fatalis scyphus perdidit. Sen. ep. Ixxxiii. 21.

of Noah and Lot are upon record to eternal ages, that in those early instances, and righteous persons, and less criminal drunkenness, than is that of Christians in this period of the world, God might shew, that very great evils are prepared to punish this vice; no less than shame, and slavery, and incest; the first upon Noah, the second upon one of his sons, and the third in the person of Lot.

Signs of Drunkenness.

But if it be inquired concerning the periods and distinct significations of this crime ; and when a man is said to be drunk ; to this I answer, that drunkenness is in the same manner to be judged as sickness. As every illness or violence done to health, in every part of its continuance, is a part or degree of sickness : so is every going off from our natural and common temper and our usual severity of behaviour, a degree of drunkenness. He is not only drunk, that can drink no more; for few are so: but he hath sinned in a degree of drunkenness, who hath done any thing towards it beyond his proper measure.

But its parts and periods are usually thus reckoned. 1. Apish gestures. 2. Much talking. 3. Immoderate laughing. 4. Dulness of sense. 5. Scurrility, that is, wanton, or jeering, or abusive language. 6. An useless understanding. 7. Stupid sleep. 8. Epilepsies, or fallings and reelings, and beastly vomitings. The least of these, even when the tongue begins to be untied, is a degree of drunkenness.

But that we may avoid the sin of intemperance in meats and drinks, besides the former rules of measures, these counsels also may be useful.

Rules for obtaining Temperance. 1. Be not often present at feasts, nor at all in dissolute company, when it may be avoided; for variety of pleasing objects steals away the heart of man; and company is either violent or enticing; and we are weak or complying, or perhaps desirous enough to be abused. But if you be unavoidably or indiscreetly engaged, let not mistaken civility or good nature engage thee either to the temptation of staying,

over.

(if thou understandest thy weakness) or the sin of drinking inordinately.

2. Be severe in your judgment concerning your proportions, and let no occasion make you enlarge far beyond your ordinary. For a man is surprised by parts; and while he thinks one glass more will not make him drunk, that one glass hath disabled him from well discerning his present condition and neighbour danger. “While men think themselves wise, they become fools :” they think they shall taste the aconite and not die, or crown their heads with juice of poppy and not be drowsy; and if they drink off the whole vintage, still they think, they can swallow another gobleto. But remember this, whenever you begin to consider, whether you may safely take one draught more, it is then high time to give

Let that be accounted a sign late enough to break off: for every reason to doubt, is a sufficient reason to part the company.

3. Come not to table, but when thy need invites thee: and if thou beest in health, leave something of thy appetite unfilled, something of thy natural heat unemployed, that it may secure thy digestion, and serve other needs of nature or the spirit.

4. Propound to thyself (if thou beest in a capacity) a constant rule of living, of eating and drinking: which though it may not be fit to observe, scrupulously, lest it become a snare to thy conscience, or endanger thy health upon every accidental violence; yet let not thy rule be broken often nor much, but upon great necessity and in small degrees.

5. Never urge any man to eat or drink beyond his own limits and his own desires. He that does otherwise, is drunk with his brother's surfeit P, and reels and falls with his intemperance; that is, the sin of drunkenness is upon both their scores; they both lie wallowing in the guilt.

6. Use St. Paul's instruments of sobriety :“Let us who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breast-plate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation.” Faith, hope, and charity, are the best weapons in the world to fight against intemperance. The faith of the Mahometans forbids

- Senec. ep. 83.

• Chi ha bevuto tutto il mare, può bere anche un trano.
p Nil interest, faveas sceleri, an illud facias. Senec,

them to drink wine, and they abstain religiously, as the sons of Rechab : and the faith of Christ forbids drunkenness to us; and therefore is infinitely more powerful to suppress this vice, when we remember, that we are Christians, and to abstain from drunkenness and gluttony is part of the faith and discipline of Jesus, and that with these vices neither our love to God, nor our hopes of heaven can possibly consist; and therefore, when these enter the heart, the others go out at the mouth : for this is the devil, that is cast out by fasting and prayer, which are the proper actions of these graces.

7. As a pursuance of this rule, it is a good advice, that as we begin and end all our times of eating with prayer and thanksgiving; so, at the meal, we remove and carry up our mind and spirit to the celestial table, often thinking of it, and often desiring it; that by enkindling thy desire to heavenly banquets, thou mayest be indifferent and less passionate for the earthly.

8. Mingle discourses, pious, or in some sense profitable, and in all senses charitable and innocent, with thy meal, as occasion is ministered.

9. Let your drink so serve your meat, as your meat doth your health ; that it be apt to convey and digest it, and refresh the spirits : but let it never go beyond such a refreshment, as may a little lighten the present load of a sad or troubled spirit; never to inconvenience, lightness, sottishness, vanity, or intemperance; and know that the loosing the bands of the tongue, and the very first dissolution of its duty, is one degree of the intemperance.

10. In all cases be careful, that you be not brought under the

power of such things, which otherwise are lawful enough in the use.

“All things are lawful for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any;" said St. Paul. And to be perpetually longing, and impatiently desirous of any thing, so that a man cannot abstain from it, is to lose a man's liberty, and to become a servant of meat and drink, or smoke. And I wish this last instance were more considered by persons, who little suspect themselves guilty of intemperance, though their desires are strong and impatient, and the use of it perpetual and unreasonable to all purposes, but that they have made it habitual and necessary, as intemperance itself is made to some men.

« ZurückWeiter »