Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

a moral and religious nature, which are given, and received, with incomparably the greatest efficacy in the morning of life. But what instructions can a drunkard communicate 2 What must be the efficacy even of Truth itself, proceeding from disturbed reason, a reeling frame, and a babbling tongue 2 With this image before him, what child can sufficiently withdraw himself from shame, and anguish, to learn at all? With what a contradictory, and monstrous deformity of character, must religious truths and precepts be inculcated on his child by a man, imbruted by strong drink : The Government of Children is obviously of no less importance, than their Instruction. But what must be the Government, exercised by a Sot? A mixture of contradictions, imbecility, and rage; a mixture, which every child, six years old, perfectly understands; and which no child of that age can respect, or love. How can he reprove them for their faults? His own life is nothing but a tissue of faults. How can he enjoin upon them virtuous conduct 2 His own life is a perpetual war upon Virtue. How can he recommend to them religion? His whole character is an insult upon religion. All this his children perfectly know; and their meaning eyes, if he will look into them, will tell him the story in language unutterable. Thirdly. He breaks their hearts by subjecting them to insupportable Mortification. The Drunkard presents his family with the melancholy sight of an intoxicated Parent: an image always before their eyes: an image, which sinks them in the dust: an image, which overwhelms them in despair. What Child can look at such an object, and remember that this object is his Parent, without a broken heart? The distresses, thus experienced, he renders double-edged by his own fretful and passionate temper. All Drunkards, almost, assume this temper, of course; and in this manner become intolerable nuisances to those, with whom they are most intimately connected. The house of a Drunkard is always the seat of discontent, and turmoil. The sufferings of his family soon become too great to be borne with patience. Complaints, which nature

cannot stifle, beget criminations, reproaches, abuses, and quarrels; terminating, not unfrequently, in wounds, bloodshed, and death. In this manner the temper of his family is ruined. They are taught, and in a sense forced, to become hostile to each other; and prepared to become enemies to mankind. At the same time, they are rendered uncomfortable to themselves; and, should they have families of their own, are made curses to them also. Their spirits, in the mean time, are broken down by an unceasing consciousness, which they cannot escape, that their disgrace, in all its complication, is known, and published, wherever they are known. The head, at least, of their domestic body is not only distressingly, but scandalously sick ; and sick with a hopeless, as well as shameful, disease. The members, in greater or less degrees, suffer with the head; and, for it at least, suffer inexpressibly. To all these things ought to be added their continual apprehension, that their husband, and parent, will come to some dreadful disaster, or to an untimely end, by some one of that numerous train of accidents, to which he is daily exposed; and the terrible conviction, that, should he even escape these evils, he is still going regularly onward to final perdition. This consummation of evils they are compelled to expect, with an assurance little short of absolute knowledge; and cannot fail to tremble in the morning, lest the dreadful event should arrive before the close of the day. 10. The Drunkard destroys his Life. The Drunkard is as really a Suicide, as if he compassed his death by the pistol, or the halter. The difference is, principally, that the destruction is slower, and accomplished by a long succession of sins, and not by one bold and desperate effort of turpitude; and that the Drunkard, instead of aiming at his life, aims merely at the gratification of his appetite: while the Suicide makes his own destruction his prime purpose. The Drunkard is a negligent, the Suicide an intentional, Self-Murderer. Often, indeed, the Drunkard destroys himself in a moment. Often, as I have already observed, he falls from his horse; or into the fire; or into the water; or is brought to an untimely end by some other fatal accident. Most usually, however, he wastes, gradually, the taper of life before the time; and thus cuts off one fourth, one third, or one half, of his accepted time : even while he lives, by his desperate progress in sin he terminates all his hopes of salvation. 11. The Drunkard ruins his Soul. It has been heretofore observed, that the Drunkard destroys his Reason. In this manner he is unfitted for all profitable use of the means of Grace, and for all attention to eternal life. Every call of mercy finds him stupid and regardless. To every threatening, his ears are deaf; to every promise his heart is insensible. The power of Motives he knows not how to feel : and even their nature he cannot comprehend. To temptations, on the contrary, he is always exposed, alive, and awake. Around him, therefore, temptations throng, and every tempter fastens on him as his prey. Sin, of course, becomes his business: and he draws iniquity as with a cart-rope. In the mean time, he is, beyond most other men, hopeless of reformation. The hopeless condition of a Sot is proverbial. Amendment in this case is so rare, as scarcely to admit belief. Indeed, Heaven seems to have stamped this sin almost always with reprobation. To complete his miserable condition, he is cut off from prayer. No person, who intends to sin, can pray. No person, who intends to tempt himself, as the Drunkard always does, can say, Lead me not into temptation; but deliver me from evil; and no person, who cannot pray, can be saved. Thus the Drunkard holds out to his family, and to the world, the deplorable spectacle of a sinner, hardened beyond the common measure; exposing himself to sin, of every kind, and in every degree, and yet voluntarily depriving himself of the usual means of repentance; hastening to perdition, and yet closing his eyes to the dangers of the precipice, on which he stands, and to the terrors of the gulph, which opens beneath. IV. I shall now endeavour summarily to point out the Means of .4 voiding this dreadful Evil.

1. Among these Means, it will be readily seen, must be the avoidance of the Causes, by which Intoxication is solicited, or encouraged. Most of these causes may, ordinarily, be avoided by a little care, and a little resolution. No persons, except the family of the drunkard, are obliged to be present, unless casually, to examples of this nature. No person is necessitated to frequent the places in which, or company of the persons by whom, this evil habit is encouraged. Every man can avoid regular drinking. That all this is the duty of every man, a duty of the most pressing kind, will not be questioned. Every thing, here, depends on resisting, or avoiding, the beginnings of evil. Peculiarly, is it the duty, and wisdom, of all men to abstain from the haunts of drunkenness, from drinking companions, and from regular drinking. Almost all habits of intoxication are originated by one, or other of these causes. He, who becomes familiar with these temptations, is advancing to perdition with his eyes open. 2. The man, who finds in himself any peculiar relish for spirituous liquors, is bound to abstain from them wholly. The relish for these increases, invariably, with every instance, and degree, of indulgence. To cherish it, therefore, is to make ourselves drunkards; and it is cherished most efficaciously by repeated drinking. No man will do this, who is not a fair candidate for bedlam. 3. All persons, who have already begun the habit of intoxication, are bound to desist, absolutely, from all use of strong drink. Every effort at gradual reformation will only cheat him, who makes it. At first, it may seem to promise something; but it will soon be found to perform nothing, of any use. The candidate for reformation will speedily find himself more entangled than ever, and at a greater distance from the reformation intended. Hard as the case may be, he must break off at once, or be ruined. 4. Persons, not peculiarly in danger of this evil, are, nevertheless, bound scrupulously to guard against it. No reputation, no wisdom, nor hardly any worth, will secure

man against Drunkenness. This sin is found in the cottage, and in the palace; in the study of the Philosopher, and in the Sacred desk; in the hall of council, and on the bench of Justice; and, contrary to what would seem the dictates of nature, as well as delicacy, in the female sex; even in instances, where distinction, understanding, amiableness, and refinement, would appear to forbid even the suspicion. In most, if not all, of these cases, the Evil creeps insensibly on the unhappy subject; and overcomes him before he is aware. A prime object, to be here regarded, is, therefore, to keep the danger always before our eyes. We are ever to feel, that we ourselves are in danger; and to consider a habitual, lively, dread of it as our first safety. We are to form, also, vigorous and standing resolutions, that we will not be overcome. These we are invariably to form in the fear of God; with a solemn recollection of his presence; with a humble dependence on Him to bless us; and with servent supplications for his blessing. To strengthen our resolutions, and to keep our fears awake, we are to mark the miserable victims of this sin with anxiety and terror; to regard the sin itself as the highway to Hell; and to realize, that in yielding to it we seal our own reprobation. To all this conduct motives can never be wanting. Multitudes, of the highest import, and the most commanding efficacy, have been already suggested in the progress of this discourse. Every heart in this house, which is not formed of adamant, must have felt their force. Nothing pleads for it, except the mere appetite for strong drink: an appetite, usually unnatural, and created by casual indulgence. All things else in Heaven, and in Earth, exclaim against it with a single voice. Our health, our reputation, our safety, our reason, our usefulness, our lives, our souls, our families, and our friends, in solemn and affecting union, urge, entreat, and persuade, us to abstain. God commands; Christ solicits; the Spirit of Grace influences; us to abstain. Angels and Glorified Saints behold our conduct with such anxiety, and alarm, as happy beings can feel; and watch, and hope, to see our escape. The Law with a terrible voice thunders in our ears that dreadful denunciation, “Drunkards

« AnteriorContinuar »