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say of him, who places his happiness in madness? Who will risk his life for a fortune, and afterward give that fortune; together with his health, his character, and his conscience, to purchase madness? Surely had he not been a fool of the first rate before, he could never have wished to become a madman, and that at so great an expense. Had he ever known the use of reason, it is impossible he should desire to lose it.
Now he who is drunk, was this fool, and is this madman, this voluntary, this wilful madman. To get drunk, is to be mad by choice; and accordingly, Pythagoras called drunkenness, an attempt to be mad. The prophet Hosea says, it is madness. • Wine and women, and new wine, take away the heart;' by which he meant the understanding. But the drunkard will say, this fit of distraction lasts only for a short time; to which we may answer, that if it were a desirable condition, he ought to wish it might last for ever; for, by the same rule that he would not have it continue, he ought never to desire it should begin. It doth not however appear by his practice, that he hath any aversion to its continuance, for he drinks as long, and as often, as he is able; and it seems to be owing only to the weakness of his body, or the shallowness of his purse, that he is not always mad. Perhaps it would be better for him to be so, since he is but a fool when sober; for, fool as he is, those reflections can reach him in that state, which, in a state of madness, can give him no uneasiness. Total madness may seem more shocking to men in their senses, but is not so grievous to the madman, as that which sometimes gives way to the use of reason, wherein the wretch becomes sensible of his unhappy ailment. This is more true of the drunken madman than of any other; for when he becomes sober, he awakens only to a sense of sickness, of distress to himself and family; and, as he cannot reform, to a prospect that still looks more black and frightful, the farther he casts his eyes over it; to a prospect, in short, that presents him with poverty and sickness just before him, with an untimely death a little farther, and, beyond that, with damnation. To a man, thus circumstanced, the return of his reason must be his highest affliction, and that of his madness his only refuge. Accordingly he hastens again to the bottle, that he may there drown that enemy, his reason, and, with it, the intolerable sense of his misery
Were the woe of the drunkard confined to these temporal evils, it might be sufficient, one would think, to frighten him from a vice so very grievous in its effects. But these evils, great and afflicting as they really are in themselves, are nothing at all, if compared to the spiritual evils that spring from, and punish, the vice of drunkenness. Their multitude is so great, that I hardly know how to be particular in such a crowd ; and they are so very shocking in their nature, that it distresses the imagination, clearly to conceive and describe them. However, lest we should lose our way, it may not be amiss to follow this method : First, let us take notice, that drunkenness is itself a crime; and, secondly, let us consider what other vices spring out of it, and draw their fuel from it.
That drunkenness is a crime, every one must acknowledge, who either reflects on the abuse of God's creatures, that were given, and ought to be applied, to better purposes; or considers the violence done to human nature in the ruin of health and reason, without which the practice of hard drinking cannot be pursued. He is certainly criminal, who lavishes on his own filthy appetite, that which, if divided, might support the spirits of many, who are forced to live on poorer food, and to waste their strength in much harder labours, than either necessity or inclination ever reduced him to. On the other hand, he must still be more highly criminal, in destroying his health, and understanding. In destroying his health, he also shortens his life, and so far is guilty of self-murder, as he quits the world before the will of his Maker and Master calls him off. And in destroying his reason, he makes his life useless and burdensome to the world; and, as to the ends and purposes of life, differs from the self-murderer only in this; that whereas the self-murderer leaves the world when he ought to stay in it, and do good; the drunkard, who also leaves it before his time, loiters a while first, to do mischief.
Now, as to the other vices and sins that spring out of drunkenness, and draw their fuel from thence, they amount to neither more nor less than the entire catalogue of all the crimes that human nature can be guilty of. We need not dwell on sins of omission, because it is evident, at first sight, that the drunkard must be chargeable with them all; for a man so sunk in health and fortune, and destitute of reason, can do no good, can answer no one end of his creation. It might however be more tolerable for him in the day of judgment,' were this all, and did he not stand accountable for an infinite deal of positive, as well as negative evil.
If it is virtue to have all the passions, affections, and appetites, in absolute subjection to reason, and reason to true religion ; he must be thoroughly prepared for all manner of wickedness, whose affections and passions are inflamed to the highest pitch of fury, and whose reason is either wholly banished, or so extremely enfeebled, as to deprive it of all authority and strength. Now, it is the property of excess in drinking to put a man exactly in this condition; for while his strong liquors kindle up a fire in his affections, they extinguish his understanding, they chain down his reason, while they lay the lash and spur to his passions.
In this state of mind, he is fitted by his enemy for every temptation, just as gunpowder is for fire. All laws, human and divine, are alike to him, for he neither fears God, nor regards man. He mixes the awful name of his Maker with discourse so silly and so lewd, that it would be a dishonour to his harlot to be the subject of it. He hath no more respect for the Sabbath-day, than for any other day; nor does he indeed make any material difference between night and day; for he is one of those, who, according to the saying of Isaiah, put darkness for light, and light for darkness. His table,' which as the prophet expresses it, is full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean, is not more an abomination to the Lord, than the Lord's table is to him.'
Extravagance like his must be supported, pay for it who will; but, generally speaking, cannot be supported without cruelty and oppression, without deceit and fraud : I say fraud; for though he is seldom in the use of his reason, yet, like many other madmen, he hath cunning enough for his purpose, which is only to raise money; a thing that may be done, without any great reach of thought, by one who is
no way nice about his conscience, or character. The sober part of the world look on the drunkards as madmen; and the drunkards are at no small pains to set themselves out as a honest undesigning sort of men, who hurt nobody, but themselves. Yet they gladly run in debt where they have credit, and never pay till they are forced. They make no scruple of fleecing every one under their power, till they are as bare as themselves. How can their tenant, or their servant, take this ill, since they do not treat their own wives and children a whit better? Notwithstanding all this, we must take it for granted, they are very honest men, for no one is hanged for such things as these, nor for combining over a bottle, and spending the night in forming schemes of iniquity, in which they unite their interests and strength with a kind of cunning, that often proves too hard for the prudence of wiser men, whose hands are tied up by a real regard to truth and justice. It would be endless to run over the malicious scandals that are born, the filthy jobs that are formed, and the unfair advantages that are pursued and carried, in bargains, in references, and in all sorts of business, by the assistance of this fruitful vice.
As hard drinking is not more apt to stifle reason, than it is to banish all sense of shame, and modesty from the mind of the drunkard, while it beats his lustful passions and lewd desires to a peculiar rage, it drives him into fornication, adultery, and every act of pollution, the corrupt imagination of man is capable of conceiving. It turns out the lascivious brute without a bridle, and hurries him into such a sink of uncleanness, as decency forbids description to approach. Hence it is that lewd houses are always furnished with strong liquors ; that in case the wretch, who resorts to these porches of hell, hath not yet dosed himself sufficiently, he may
there find wherewithal to give him a taste gross enough for the dung, and a stomach strong enough for the poison, with which he is to be regaled. Nowhere on earth, and hardly in hell, is there any thing to be found more odious, more detestable, and more shocking, than a lewd and shameless woman. Besides it is generally known, or believed, that she is a lump of painted rottenness, of perfumed stench, and that she brings with her a deadly infection, to the body, as well as the soul of him, who touches her. What is it now that can lead a reasonable creature into her snare? Nothing, absolutely nothing. A man must have lost his reason, and become a brute, before he can so much as think of turning his eyes towards a sight so detestable. To what a pitch must a man's blood be fired! to what a depth must his taste be lowered! to what a distraction must his understanding be driven, either by the devil, or strong liquor, before he is capable of taking such a fiend for an angel, or an object of love and desire !
In this respect the effects of drunkenness in women are still more shameful and shocking than in men. To see that person, which nature intended for neatness and sweetness, all loose and filthy; that face which should be the seat of comeliness and beauty, all bloated and distorted ; and those eyes, in which modesty and chastity should sit enthroned, staring impudence, and goggling lust; which is remarkably the case of a woman flustered with liquor, is a thing shocking, abominable, horrible, beyond all imagination or description. Yet horrible as it is, I am sorry to say it, such sights are of late by no means uncommon. I should be also infinitely surprised, that men could for a moment, endure them, or forbear flying from them to the ends of the earth, did I not consider, that what they are so easily reconciled to in themselves, they must be well enough prepared to tolerate in the other sex. But men in their senses cannot forbear pronouncing him miserable, who hath such a wife, and them unhappy, who have such a mother; for neither to him, nor them, can she in any sort discharge the duties of the place she is in.
Nothing but reason can give a man a right sense of his own infirmity and vileness, and teach him that humility, which becomes so dependant, so guilty, a creature. But when this is banished by strong liquor, and the spirits begin to mount on its fiery vapours, then pride rises with them, and lords it over the heart. The drunken dance applauds his own understanding, and betrays that want of sense, which sober, he might have concealed. The coward conceits himself an hero, and engages in a quarrel, which must cost him a shameful submission to-morrow. The beggar, now grown a lord, must drink and pay according to his new title, though hunger and rags are immediately to follow.