Page images

to pledge him that consecrates the first glass to the health of the king, or any person of eminency. I leave it still to your reason to be judge,

1. Whether the king have cause to account the manifest breach of the laws by which he governs, to be a signal expresfion of his subjects. loyalty to him? Is not his royal authority, his honour and safety in his laws? And is he not finely ho- . noured, think you, by such drunken loyalty as this ? Gentlemen, you have a king over you of founder intellectuals, and more exemplary temperance and fobriety than to be thus imposed upon.

2. Can you think he reckons his health in the least degree advanced or secured by the ruin and subversion of his subjects health ? No, no ; did the genteelest drunkards in England enquire, they would quickly find, it would more please him if they would consult their own health better, and pray for his more sincerely and fervently than they do.

Excufe VI. Your last excufe is, that you have plentiful eftates that will bear it; and since your pockets are full; why should your heads or stomachs be empty.

Quest. The only question I would here ftate, and leave your own reason to determine, is this, whether you think the experience of the redundancy and over-plus of your estates in excess and drunkenness, be the very end and design God aimed at, in bestowing those things with such a bountiful hand upon you? And whether the expence of it in this way, will please him as well, as if you cloathed the naked, and fed the hungry with it, and brought the blessings of them that are ready to perish, upon you and your families ? Ah, gentlemen, you

must come to a day of reckoning. Your reasons and consciences can never tell you, you can make ир

as comfort. able an account with God, by setting down so many pounds in wine and strong drink, more than was neceffary or beneficial : Item, So many thousand pounds loft in play: So much upon whores; as if you set down so much to feed and cloath the naked and hungry. So that all your excuses for this fin are baffled by your own reason; and it was easy to conclude, that such a traitor to reason as drunkenness is, which hath fo often dethroned it, could not possibly receive a more favourable judgment and sentence than this now given

many hundred

upon it.

Let all drunkards henceforth consider, what a voluntary mad. nels the fin of drunkenness is, how it unınans them, and secs

them below the


A grave * father calls i rightly,

“ A distemper of the head, a subversion of the senses, a tem “ pest in the tongue, the storm of the body, the shipwreck of de virtue, the loss of time, a wilful madness, a pleasant evil, á « sugared poison, a sweet sin, which he that hath, hath not * himself; and he that commits it, doth not only commit ling “ but himself is altogether fin."

It is a fin at which the most fober Heathens blushed. The policy of the Spartans was more commendable than theit piety in making men drunk, that their children might gagé upon them as a monster, and be fcared for ever from fuch an horrid practice. He that is mastered by drunkenness, can never be master of his own counsels. Both reason and religion condemn this course. Make a pause therefore where you are, and rather throw that wine or beer upon the ground, which else will cast thy body upon the ground, and thy soul and body into hell.

[blocks in formation]

Containing the result and isue of the third consultation with rea

fon, upon the case of uncleanness; and the true report of the determination of every man's reason, with respect there. unto.


§ 1. THE bountiful and indulgent God hath made more

abundant provision for the pleasure and delight of rational, thạn of brutal beings : And his wise and righteous laws order and limit their pleasures to their great advantage; his allowance under those restrictions being large and full enough. Both reason and experience assure us, that the truest pleasures are most freely and honourably to be enjoyed within the pale and boundary of his laws; and that there are none fit for the enjoyment of a man or Christian, to be found without, or beyond them.

That prudent owner provides best for his cattle, who puts

* Turbatio.capitis, subversio fenfus, tempestas lingua, procella corporis, naufragium virtutis, amiffio temporis, infania voluntaria, blande daemon, dulce venenum, suave peccatum, quam qui habet, feipfam zon habet, quam qui facit, peccatum non tantum facit, fed ipfe totus eft peccatum,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

them into inclosed fragrant fields, where they have plenty of proper and pleasant food, sweet and pure springs of water, the pleasant covert of shady trees, and all that is either necessary or convenient for them; altho' those fields be so inclosed with in pales or walls, that they cannot ftray without those boun. daries, into other mens grounds, to be by them impounded, and brought back lank tired, and dirty, to their owner; or by straying into wastes and wildernefses, fall a prey (as stragglers use to do) to wolves and lions.

God envies not any true, rational, and proper pleasure to men or women ; when he bounds them in by his command, within the allowance whereof, sufficient provision is made for the benefit and delight of propagation. And though it be all men's duty to tremble at the awful folemnity, yet it would be any man's fin to repine and murmur at the strictness and feverity of his command, delivered with thunder and lightning from mount Sinai, Thou shalt not commit adultery. Man's honourable liberty, and God's wife and just restraint and limi. tation thereof, are both set together before our eyes, in that one fcripture, Heb. xiii. 4. “Marriage is honourable in all, " and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers “ God will judge.” Here is a liberal allowance granted, and a severe punishment threatned for the inordinacies and exorbió tancies of boundless and ungovernable lufts. God will judge with temporal judgments in this world; and upon impenitent persistents, with eternal judgments in the world to come.

§ 2. Such is the corruption of man's nature by the fall, that it hates inclosures, restraints, and limitations. These things which were intended to regulate, serve only to sharpen and enrage their sensual appetite. No fruit so sweet to corrupt nature, as forbidden fruit. Nitimur in vetitum femper, cupimufque negata. The very reftraiut of evil, makes it look like a pleasant and desirable good. Sons of Belial can endure no yoke of restraint. There is a great truth in that observation of the divine Herbert, That if God had laid all common, mari himself would have been the incloser. For his reason and experience would have plainly informed him of the great and manifold advantages of distinction and propriety. How many quarrels and barbarous murders have been occasioned by whores! which by keeping within God's bounds and rules, had been both honestly and honourably prevented.

Were men left to that liberty brutes are, to scatter their lufts promiscuously, fathers would not know their own children, VOL. VIII.


[ocr errors]

nor children their fathers; '

whereby both their duties and comforts would be prescinded together. Such mischiefs as 'these, would make men glad of that inclosure, which the laws of God have made for them. But behold with admiration the perverse wickedness of corrupt nature, manifested in this, that because God hath inclosed and secured their relations to them by his laws, (which inclosure is every way to their advantage); yet this makes their lufts the more head-firong and outrageous, and they cannot take that comfort in their own, because their own, that they think to find in another's, because another's.

Remarkable to this purpose is that * relation of Mr. Firmin's, which he received from his near relation, who was minister to the company of English merchants in Pruffia. The contul, or governor of that company, being a married man, and that to a very proper and comely woman, was yet enslaved to others, not to be compared with his own wife for comelinefs. This minifter dealt with him about it. One argument he urged, was this: That of all men he had the least temptation, having a wife • fo comely, that few women were like her. He answered, yea, 'were she not my wife, I could love her. Had the been his whore, he could have loved her; he thought none like her ; but because fhe was his wife, hedged in by God, he cared not for her. O what hearts have men, that they fhould ever think that to be best for them which is most cross to God! Why should stolen waters be sweeter than those of our own fountains ? $ 3. God's choice must needs be far better for us, than

Ordinate and lawful pleafures and enjoyments, are far better and sweeter, than exorbitant and forbidden ones. And the reason is evident and undeniable : For amongst all the operations of the mind, its reflex acts are the acts that belt relish pleasure. And indeed, without felf-reflection, a man cannot tell whether he delights or 110. All sense of pleasure implies fome reflection of the mind : And those pleasures of a man muft needs be the sweetest, which afford the sweetest reflections upon them afterward; and those the baselt pleasures, which are accompanied and followed with prefent regret

, or the stinging and cutting reflections of the conscience upon them afterwards.

1. Lawful and ordinate enjoyments, are as honey without the sting: Forbidden pleasures, are embittered and extinguifhed by these regrets and reflections of the conscience. They are like those pleafant fruits, which the Spainards found in

our own.

[ocr errors]

* Real Christian, p. 60.

the Indies, which were tweet to the taste, but so environed and armed on every fide with dangerous briars and thorns, that they tore not only their cloaths off their backs, but the Ikin off their flesh, to come at them; and therefore they called them comfits in hell. And such are all forbidden, and unlawful pleasures.

A merchant (faith the fore-named author t) dining with, the friars at Dantziek, his entertainment was very noble. After he had dined, and seen all, the merchant fell to commending their pleasant life. ' Yea, said one of the friars to him, we • live gallantly indeed, if we had any body to go to hell for us 4 when we die.' You see what mingles with mens sensual and finful lufts.

2. Your honour is secured, by keeping within God's bounds and limits : Marriage is honourable in all

. Here guilt can neither wrong your consciences, nor infamy your reputations. Fornicators and adulterers go up and down the world, as men. burnt in the hand: Their conscience lashes them within ; and men point at them abroad. They are a terror to themselves, and a scorn to men.

3. The health of the body is secured by chaste and regular enjoyments, but exposed to destruction the other way. God liath plagued the inordinacy of mens lusts, with moft ftrange and horrid diseases. That Morbus Gallicus, Sudor Anglicus, and Plica Polonica, were judgments sent immediately by God's own hand, as the witnesses of his high displeasure, against the bold and daring contemners of his facred and awful command. Thus, as Prov. V. 11. “They mourn at last, when their flesh “'and' hody are consumed.” Other sins are committed in the body; but this against it, as well as in it.

4. The blaft and waste of our eftates (which is the usual consequence of uncleanness) is prevented and avoided, by keeping within God's rules. The truth of what the scripture tells us, Prov. x. 5. is often exemplified before our eyes ; that, “ by reason of a whorish woman, a man is brought to a mora fel of bread.” Adultery gives a man rags for his livery; it lodgeth his substance in the house of strangers, and entails wants and curses on him and his.

5. In a word, continence, or lawful marriage, exposes not the foul to the eternal wrath of God, as uncleanness dorh ;

Cor. vi. 9, 10. This sin does not only shut a mian out of his

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

+ Real Chriflian p. 63.

« PreviousContinue »