Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

rent report, that somebody had written a book against the 'squire and the whole parish. The minister of the place having at that time a controversy with some of his congregation upon the account of his tythes, was under some suspicion of being the author, untis the good man set the people right, by shewing them that the satirical passages might be applied to several other's of two or three neighbouring villages, and that the book was writ against all the sinners in England.

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

N. vices are so incurable as those which men are apt to glory in. One would wonder how drunkenness should have the good luck to be of this number. Anarcharsis, being invited to a match of drinking at Corinth, demanded the prize very humorously, because he was drunk before any of the rest of the company : For, (says he,) when we run a race, he who arrives at the gaol first is entitled to the reward." On the contrary, in this thirsty generation, the honour falls upon him who carries off the greatest quantity of liquor, and knocks down the rest of the company. I was the other day with honest Will. Funnel, the West Saxon, who was reckoning up how much liquor had passed through him in the last twenty years of his life, which, according to his computation, amounted to twenty-three hogsheads of October, four ton of port, half a kilderkin of small beer, nineteen barrels of cyder, and three glasses of champaign; besides which, he had assisted at four hundred bowls of punch; not to men

tion sips, drams, and whets without number. I question not but every reader's memory will suggest to him several ambitious young men, who are as vain in this particular as Will. Funnel, and can boast of as glorious exploits.

Our modern pilosophers observe, that there is a general decay of moisture in the globe of the earth. This they chiefly ascribe to the growth of vegetables, which incorporate into their own substance many fluid bodies that never return again to their former nature; but, with submission, they ought to throw into their account those innumerable rational beings which fetch their nourishment chiefly out of liquids; especially when we consider that men, compared with their fellow-creatures, drink much more than comes to their share.

But however highly this tribe of people may think of themselves, a drunken man is a greater monster than any that is to be found among all the creatures which God has made; as indeed there is no character which appears more despicable and deformed, in the eyes of all reasonable persons, than that of a drunkard. Bonosus, one of our own countrymen, who was addicted to this vice, having set up for a share in the Roman Empire, and being defeated in a great battle, hanged himself. When he was seen by the army in this melancholy situation, notwithstanding he had behaved himself very bravely, the common jest was, that the thing they saw hanging upon the tree before them, was not a man; bụt a bottle.

This vice has very fatal effects on the mind, the body, and fortune of the person who is devoted to it.

In regard to the mind, it first of all discovers every flaw in it. The sober man, by the strength of reason, may keep under and subdue every vice or folly to which he is most inclined; but wine makes every latent seed sprout up in the soul, and shew itself; it gives fury to the passions, and force to those objects which are apt to produce them. When a young fellow complained to an old philosopher, that his wife was not handsome, “ Put less water in your wine, (says the philosopher,) and you will quickly make her so." Wine heightens indifference into love, love into jealousy, and jealousy into madness. It often turns the good-natured man into an idiot, and the choleric man into an assassin. It gives bitterness to resentment, it makes vanity insupportable, and displays every little spot of the soul in its utmost deformity.

Nor does this vice only betray the hidden faults of a man, and shew them in the most odious colours, but often occasions faults to which he is not naturally subject. There is more of turn than of truth in a saying of Seneca, “ That drunkenness does not produce but discover faults.” Common experience teaches the contrary. Wine throws a man out of himself, and infuses qualities into the Mind, which she is a stranger to in her sober moments. son you converse with, after the third bottle, is not the same man who at first sat down at table with you. Upon this maxim is founded one of the prettiest sayings I ever met with, which is ascribed to Publius Syrus, “Qui ebrium ludificat lædit absentem :” He who jests upon a man that is drunk, injures the absent.

Thus does drunkenness act in direct contradiction to reason, whose business it is to clear the mind of every vice which has crept into it, and to guard it against all the approaches of any that endeavours to make its entrance. But, besides these ill effects, which this vice produces in the person who is actually under its dominion, it has also a bad influence on the mind, even in its sober moments; as it insensibly weakens the understanding, impairs the memory, and makes those faults habitual which are produced by frequent excesses.

The per

I should next proceed to shew the ill effects which this vice has on the bodies and fortunes of men: but these I shall reserve for the subject of some future paper.

No. 571. FRIDAY, JULY 23,

-Cælum quid quærimus ultra ?

Luc.

As the work I have engaged in, will not only con, sist of papers of humour and learning, but of several essays moral and divine, I shall publish the following one, which is founded on a former SPECTATOR, and sent me by a particular friend, not questioning but it will please such of my readers as think it no disparagement to their understandings, to give way sometimes to a serious thought.

[ocr errors]

" Iv your paper of Friday, the 9th instant, you had occasion to consider the ubiquity of the Godhead, and at the same time, to shew, that as he is present to every thing, he cannot but be attentive to every thing, and privy to all the modes and parts of its existence; or, in other words, that his omniscience and omnipresence are co-existent, and run together through the whole infinitude of space. This consideration might furnish us, with many incentives to devotion, and motives to morality; but as this subject has been handled by several excellent writers, I shall consider it in a light wherein I have not seen it placed by others.

“ First, How disconsolate is the condition of an intellectual being who is thus present with his Maker, but, at the same time, receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his presence !

“ Secondly, How deplorable is the condition of an intellectual being, who feels no other effects from this his presence, but such as proceed from divine wrath and indignation!

Thirdly, How happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is sensible of his Maker's presence from the secret effects of his mercy and loving-kindness!

“First, How disconsolate is the condition of an intellectual being, who is thus present with his Maker, but, at the same time, receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his presence! Every particle of matter is actuated by this Almighty Being which passes through it. The heavens and the earth, the stars and planets, move and gravitate by virtue of this great principle within them. All the dead parts of nature are invigorated by the presence of their Creator, and made capable of exerting their respective qualities. The several instincts, in the brute creation, do likewise operate and work towards the several ends which are agreeable to them, by this divine energy. Man only, who does not co-operate with this holy spirit, and is inattentive to his presence, receives none of those advantages from it, which are perfective of his nature, and necessary to his well-being. The divinity is with him, and in him, and every where about him, but of no advantage to him. It is the same thing to a man without religion, as if there were no God in the world. It is indeed impossible for an infinite being to remove himself from any of his creatures: but though he cannot withdraw his essence from us, which would argue an imperfection in him, he can withdraw from us all the joys and consolations of it. His presence may perhaps be necessary to support us in our existence; but he may leave this our ex. istence to itself, with regard to its happiness or mi. sery. For, in this sense, he may cast us away from his presence, and take his holy spirit from us. This

« AnteriorContinuar »