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SUNDAY XV. Part II. IV. Thus far intemperance in drinking has been considered Of drinking in general, without any distinction of various lispirituous quors by which it is occasioned : But that of spiLiquors. rituous liquors deserves our peculiar consideration.
Nothing can be more clear in reason than the quick tendency of those liquors to shorten and destroy life; not only by depraving the appetite, and drawing on a disrelish of wholefome nourishment, as experience shews; but also, as physi
cians assure us, by hardening the provisions that are And how far de truc- fent into the stomach, and thereby hindering the tive to na- operations of those helps, which God has proviture. ded, for a regular digestion, and for a kindly conveyance of nourishment to every part: besides, the other fatal effects which are charged upon them by physicians; as palfies and apoplexies, from their operation upon the brain and nerves; and of jaundices and dropsies, from their operation upon the bowels. Again, The seeming relief that our spirits receive from the liquors, which we are now speaking of, is not only of Thort continuance, but frequently runs into phrensy and madness; inflaming instead of comforting; intoxicating instead of enlivening. And as, through such a violent and precipitate consumption, the spirits they give are soon spent; so do they leave the body vapid and lifeless, and under an eager longing after a speedy recruit froin those artificial aids, which are only so many steps to the grave, and do, in truth, deserve no better name, than a flower kind of poison. And, lastly, It cannot be but that they must by the same degrees impair the strength, and enfeeble the constitution, and make the whole man weak and listless; lefs willing to set about his business, and less able to go through the labour and fatigue of it. Thusit must be in nature; and thus it is daily seen to be in experience and observation. And tho' persons in the married state may not be enough concerned about the mischiefs they do to themselves, they are to be put in mind, that in them it is not only irreligious, but unnatural and cruel, to have no sense or feeling of the weakness
and infirmities, which they are intailing upon their innocent offspring; especially, when the temptations lie so much in every one's way; and when the appetite is gratified, and the brain intoxicated, at so easy an expence; and when by a little indulgence the cure becomes so very difficult. Such considerations, one would hope, should of themselves, and without any other inforcements, be effectual warnings to all parents and masters, to use the utmost watchfulness over those who are under their care, that none of them be ensnared by these temptations, into the beginning of a distemper which, when begun, is so hard to be cured. Consequently,
Having answered all the common excuses made for this fin of drunkenness, it will be necessary in the next Degrees of place to shew what are the degrees of it. And here ibis fin. they deceive themselves, who think that a man is only to be accounted a drunkard, when he is so drunk as not to be able to go, stand, or speak; for every lower degree of drinking, that makes a man very dull, ridiculous, or unfit for employment, or full of rage and fury, or makes any change in the man, and which exceeds the natural end of drinking and moderate refreshment, is the sin of drunkenness: which ought to be well considered by those, who spend great part of their time in alehouses or taverns, ata friend's, or in their own houses, in drinking: for though their constitution be so strong, as to preserve their wits longer than another ; yet their crime is not the less, if they drink as eagerly, and employ the same time in the work, as hath made another drunk. Do not reckon that your enjoyments are therefore innocent, because you are able to go away with a tolerable share of reason and understanding, which in many cases is owing only to custom or an uncommon strength of nature; but rest assured, that allindulgences of this kind, more than what nature fairly requires, and more than what are a real refreshment to body and mind, without prejudice to health or business, are very finful in the eyes of God, and lay men under the same condemnation in kind, though not in degree, as drunkenness itself does. Therefore whatever we find hurtful to our health, or that is found commonly to make our bodies heavy, is to be avoided.
From these foregoing considerations we may easily collect Of the great th
o the great guilt of those who, instead of refreshing guilt of our and relieving nature, abuse and mif-spend what fireng God in his providence has given us for good ends; drinkers.
and as we must one day account for such abuses, so he that drinks longest has the most of that guilt. To this we may add the mis-spent time and the drunkenness of those in our company; especially if we strive to make them drunk, and triumph over their infirmity, and value ourselves upon it, we are guilty of a most horrible wickedness. They therefore, who take a pleasure to fuddle others, would do well to consider the woe which God has dencunced against fo vile a practice: Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink; that puttest thy bottle to him, and makesthim drunken also! which is a dear price for so short and foolish a pastime. · Thus you have been informed of the sinfulness, the moThe rest tives to, and the degrees of the sinof drunkenness; mischiefs of a most shameful abuse of God's bleffings, and of this fin. human nature. And I have been the more particu. lar in the describing of this vice, as it is a sin of which scarce any condition, age, or sex among us is free; tho'it is certain that there is no sin, which is more destructive to the understanding, health, reputation, and estate of those that fall into it: and, according to the different constitutions of men, it usually produces, in fome, a spirit of rage, and passion, and cruelty ; in others, fullenness, obstinacy, and ill-nature; and, in most, great folly and indecency in words and actions. It is with regard to the heinousness of this sin that the prophet Isaiah so solemnly denounceth woes and judgments against it: Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink, that continue unto night, till wine inflame them ! and again, Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle (trong drink ! And in the New Testament, the christians guilty of this vice are ranked amongst the most abominable finners, and adjudged to the heaviest punishments; even to the exclusion from the kingdom of God.
Let as many, therefore, as have already indulged themselves into a habit, stand still, and consider, that they are in
a state a state of the worst kind of slavery; a slavery of reason to appetite, a slavery of the human to the brutal part. The necesita And let them resolve, once for all, to assert the to forsakeit. freedom and dignity of their nature, and that, though they have lived like beasts, they will die like men. Let thein, in a religious way, look back and see how they have abused the bleffings of God to luxury and excess, and with how much goodness he has borne with their provocations and waited for their amendment; and let a sense of his mercy and their own vileness breed in their hearts that godly shame and forrow, which worketh repentance to falvation : Or, if neither the force of reason nor religion will do, let the terrors of the Lord persuade them not to trifle away their souls, by continuing in a course, which they know must end so shortly in eternal destruction.
If they say it is a difficult work, the proper answer is, that it is a necessary work; and if men will but think, a
B, The difficulit can bear no long consideration, whether they jy of doing Thall be uneasy now, or miserable for ever. Where to considerthat is the choice, the true inference from the dif- ed. ficulty of the work is, to rouse themselves to equal degrees of resolution to go through it; and the more sensible they are of their own weakness, the more earnest ought they to be in their prayers to God to strengthen and affift them. Therefore take heed of giving way to intemperance when it first appears; for itinsensibly stealson to higher degrees, and grows upon those whogiyeit admission. I could recount fad inftances of persons, in appearance, of the strictest sobriety and regularity, who from small beginnings, not restrained at first, have funk into fottishness, and been intirely lost to the world and themselves, and consequently to God. Itisavice that eats like a canker, and too often increases with age; which should make young people cautious of the least degree A caution to thereof. And its proper antidote is, not to be be- young people. trayed into it, but to keep the reins over the appetite from the beginning; and to accustom it to frequent restraints, that it may know it is always under government, and so be tame and tractable: or, in the language of St. Paul in this very case, to keep under the body, and bring it into subjec
tion; to keep up in our souls the life and power of religion, that our time and thoughts be well employed, that we inay not be under the temptation of having recourse to sensual indulgences to pass away our leisure hours. And
To the foregoing we may add another difficulty in the Want of forsaking the crime of drunkenness, which is an employment. indolent idle life. For many, who, as they term it, can liveon their substance, or upon credit, abhor the thoughts of work and give themselves up to drinking, which at last becomes their trade and business. Let them therefore seek for a suitable employ in their way of life, and be diligent in their proper stations, and neither those that must live by their labour nor others in easier circumstances, will ever spend their
..time in drinking. It may be, that a good resoluThe perfuafions and re- tion of forsaking the wretched custoin of drinking proaches of may be attacked by the persuasions and even remen. proaches of old pot-companions; but they who resolve to become temperate muít forefeeand expect, and therefore prepare against such temptations; and they will be the better able to refilt, by considering how much the everlasting kindness of God is to be preferred to the friendship of men, and whether the reproach of wicked men be fo terrible, as that of a guilty conscience, and the eternal confusion of an unrepenting finner at the last day. In such cases as these, resolve, and say with the royal Plalmist, Depart from me, ye wicked : I will keep the commandments of my God. Therefore give not the least way to any of these tempta
tions; for if a penitent once gives ground, he cerReject these membraticas tainly loses the victory. For by returning to the at the very company of drunken companions, he throws himbeginning. self into the way of sinners, and they seldom fail by force or intreaty to drown his sober resolutions with a flood The security of excess. Consequently, the greatest security of doing for lies in this (as I have frid before) to reject the firit occasions of this fin; and openly to declare our purposes of living a lober life for the future, that men may be dilcouraged from attempting any future conquest. For if men suffer themselves to come into the way of excels, or go too near the brinks of it, they will frequently loose the reins, and be