Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

He will feed his horse high enough to perform his journey, and carry him through the mire; but will not feed him to luch a height, that the rider shall neither be able to fit, nor command him,

Ju all these cases, the common prudence of every man directs him to that just mediocrity, wherein both his honour and profit do apparently lie. And what we say in such common cases and concerns as these, is as true, and much more excellent in the foul's prudent government of its own body, unto which it was espoused in the womb, and is its dear and constant partner, both in the present and future good or evil. It is the garment it wears, the instrument it uleth, and the field it cultivates, It must neither deny the body those necessary supports and comforts which God and nature allow it, nor yet surfeit and overcharge it with more than it is able to bear. In either of these extremes, the extreme folly of the soul is discovered.

$ 3. Now the dethroning of reason, and frequent oppresfions of nature, by the practice of drunkenness, is the highest, exaltation of folly in the soul of man; plainly manifesting its ignorance and inability to order and govern the body, to which it is married by a vital union.

Here is a foolish soul by misgovernment, dishonouring and destroying its vigorous and comely body, under a pretence of love and kindness to it. We account it one of the greatest outward infelicities in this world, incident to a discreet and virtuous woman, to be headed and governed by a sottish fool, neither able to govern himself, or her, nor give a reason of his own actions or commands. A man whose folly shall make, her blush in all sober companies he comes into, and forces her upon such a course of life as the perfectly abhors, and will bring speedy ruin upon her; all men pity such a case as. this. And this is the very case of many a comely, vigorous, body.

Only such a woman hath two reliefs under her bondage, which the body of a drunkard wants. She can sometimes withdraw and retire from his company, and enjoy the relief of her. folitude, which the wretched body of a drunkard cannot do till death ; but is tied day and night to the company of its foolish soul, which is frequently abusing it, and imposing upon it.

Besides, such a woman may haply overlive her vicious 2busive husband, and spend many a comfortable year in the world with a more discreet, sober and religious partner of her life, whose fobriety, discretion, piety, and love, snall make

full compensation for all those years of misery and flavery she endured before. But the case before us admits no such relief: for as long as ever the body lives and breathes, the soul is, and must be with it, and in it. And though death will for a time separate and divorce them, yet the body's second marriage at the resurrection, can be with no other but the same soul which oppreffed and ruined it in this world. And this fecond marriage will be far worse than the first; for though it were the sottish foul's slave and drudge in this world, and fuffered many a sickness, shame, and loss by its folly; yet in the world to come, it must be its partner and companion in hell. torments for evermore, inasmuch as it was the instrument the foul used in most of those fins committed by it in this world. And this is the case of all bodies married to, and governed by fouls that have neither reason nor religion enough prudently and soberly to order and govern their own bodies.

$ 4. Sad and doleful, therefore, are the lamentations and complaints of the bodies of drunkards, against the folly and tyranny of their souls; and as just as fad. Let me here therefore act the part of an advocate for your bodies, which is a part of yourselves, and to which, by the law of nature, you owe love, care, and honour; or, rather by a prosopopoeia, let me bring in the body sighing out its own complaints in the ears of its own soul, and thus bemoaning itself to it.

"Oh, my soul! I have cause to lament the day that ever I & was married to such a sottish fool as thou art, who are de. á sticute both of wisdom and love to rule and govern me. I

may justly resume Job's lamentation upon thy account, and * fay with him : « Let the day perish wherein I was born, and is the night wherein it was said, there is a man-child conceive 6. ed. Why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give

up the ghost when I came out of the belly ? For now should • I have lien still, and been quiet, I should have slept; then

had I been at rest.” So I have been a perfect save and drudge to thy unreasonable

lusts and impositions. I was once an active, vigorous, come. <ly body, and hadst thou been wife and sober, I had been hap• py. But thou hast been a cruel tyrant to me, oppressing and

loading me with more than I was able to stand under. Thou «hait plunged me many times into those puddles of excess,

wherein thou hast drowned thy own reason, and my health. My well-mixed beauty is now turned into the colour of flam.. <ing fire; my hands and legs shake, my tongue falters, my « natural crasis and temperament is destroyed. Thou haft

[ocr errors]

ó made me miserable in this world, and intendest to make me more wretched in the world to come.

Sober nature gave me my stint and measure. I knew when o it was enough, and gave thee sufficient items and intimations o amidst thy foolish frolics), that I could neither with honour 6 or safety bear one glass more. But thou walt deaf to all my o moans, and shewedst more mercy to thy horse than me. • Sick or well, able or unable, live or die, I must take in the « full number of cups and bottles thou enjoinedest me to take. < Like another Pharoah, thou haft required of me the full tale,

whether I had strength to perform it or no. Yea, like ano. other devil, thou haft sometimes caft me into fiery fevers,

and watery dropsies; and will next caft me, if thou continue

this course, into hell-fire itself. . Other souls have set thee a better pattern in their more - sober and prudent government of their bodies. They give 6 their bodies the true pleasure of the creature, by keeping o them to that happy mediocrity in which it consists. They 6 devote their bodies to the service of God; thou haft devotect « me to the immediate service of the devil, A majestic beau6 ty sits upon their faces; fottishness and folly upon mine. • Their knees are caily bowed in prayer to God; mine shake

and tremble in the service of the devil,' They enjoy pure and ! • fanctified pleasures every day, but I am denied the fober

« pleasures of a beast. Their bodies will be happy with their • souls in the world to come ; but I must suffer eternally with

thee, and for thee. Thou hast both consumed me, and thy

estate given to support me; and now I am like to suffer as • much by want, as I have done by excess'; and all this thro' " thy misgovernment. These feet (if thou hadft pleased to

command them) would as readily have carried thee to thy

closet, or the assemblies of God's people, as to an ale-house (or tavern. These fingers would have served to open and turn « the blessed pages, which contain the oracles of God, as to

cog a dye, or have shuffled and dealt a pack of cards.' This 6 tongue might have been melodiously employed in singing « the praises of God among his people, as well as in swearing, ( roaring, and singing among drunken sots and fools, if thou o hadst been endued with governing wisdom.

"Thou knowest I could do nothing without thee. Thou i hast a despotical power over all my members. They are at • thy beck, and thou at the devil's. Better had it been for me, • had I been the body of a contemptible worm or fly, than a o body animated and governed by such a sottish soul as thou art.

. And now, my soul, what hast thou to fay for thyself? • What tolerable account canst thou give to God or' me, of these thy vile abuses of both ?

5. Now let us hear what the soul of the drunkard hath to plead, in its own excuse and defence, for all his wrongs á. gainst God, mischief to itself, ruin to his health, name, and eftate. They have various excuses, though not one found or rational one among them all. Such as they are, let them be tried by the rule of reafon, if any reafün be yet left in them, who daily dethrone it by this worse than brutith practice.

That which they say for themselves, is this :'

1. That their bodies are strongly constituted, more capacious to receive, and able to bear greater quantities of wine and strong-drink, than others are ; and therefore, why should they not drink down, and glory over those that vie with them?

2. Others say, they would not take the course they do, but that when they are sober and solitary, they are fo prefied with the thoughts of their debts and incumbrances in the world, that they are upon a perfect rack, and they find nothing like good-fellowship in a tavern or ale-house, so effeétually reliev. ing against the cares and anxieties of their minds.

3. Some will tell us, they are drawn into it by the snare of pleasure ; no:hing beiog so grateful to their palate, as their full load of generous wine, or strong drink. And feeing it is fo pleasant and delightsome to them, why should they deny and abridge themselves of their pleasures ?

4. Others will profess, they had never taken this course, which they find upon many accounts pernicious to them, but that they are not able in civility to deny their intimate friends and conipanions, especially such with whom they have concerns in trade and business; and they must drink as they do, or suffer loss in their trade; and beside that, be stigmatized før fanatics.

5. They will also say, they are obliged in point of loyalty, 'to pledge hiin that consecrates (as they catechrestically call it) the first glass to the king, or persons of quality and honour.

6. And, lastly, Some will tell us, they have plentiful estates, that will bear such expences; and since their pockets are full, why should not their heads and stomachs be so toở ?

Besides these fix apologies for drunkenness, nothing falls into my imagination, pleadable for this sin. We will weighi there that are pleaded, in the common balance of the reason of mankind, and try the validity of them one by one. And for

Excufe I. Ard, first, To what you say of the capacities of

your bodies, strength and ability of your conftitutions, to receive and bear greater quantities of wine and strong drink, than others can; and therefore, why fhould you not give proof of it, when challenged, and get reputation to yourselves, by drinking down, and glorying over such as vie with you?

To this I reply three things, which must be laid in the counster-balance ; and let the balance be held in the upright hand of your own reason.

1. A strong and vigorous conftitution will be readily ac knowledged to be so great an external blessing and mercy, thát no man of found intellectuals ought to do any thing to destroy it; but is obliged to use all proper methods for the prefervas tion of it. If therefore temperance shall be found to preserve it, and excess to impair and destroy it; let your own reason judge, which of thefe two courses you are obliged to take. Consult either the best physicians, or your own and other mens experience ; and they will tell you, That apoplexięs, pallies, gout, and innumerable other diseases are bred by fuch excefles, in the foundest and strongest constitutions, and death itself haftened by such intemperate courses ; whereas temperance and sobriety might have made your lives more comfortable and durable. As strong as you are, frequent drunkenness will bring Cain's curse upon your vigorous bodies, and make you go shaking and trembling (as he did) about the world.

2. Let it be demanded of your own reason, whether it do really judge that God bestowed more strength and vigour upon your bodies, than he hath upon others, to arm a stronger enemy, than others are; to fight more vigorously against him, than others do, or can do? Or, whether it were not defigned by him for greater use and service to his glory in the world, than others of his people (how willing foever they be) can do, for want of that strength you have ? I am confident, no man of found intellectuals will dare to affert the former, or de. py the latter.

3. And, lafliy, For your glorying in drinking down, and conquering others; you will certainly put your own reason to a blush, by offering such a plea as this to it. You are not yet arrived to impudence enough, to deny drunkennefs to be a fin; and your reason is yer found enough, easily and naturally to infer, that by how much the more any man exceeds and goes beyond others in lin, by so much the greater finner that man is.

And as for the honour and glory you talk of, in exceeding VOL. VIII

B bb

« PoprzedniaDalej »