Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

And, notwithstanding all manner of discouragements, I do, in observance of the many awaking calls of divine providence, apply myself to this subject; wishing, for the argument, and the patient reader's sake, that my reason were but equal to my antipathy against healthing, which is daily increased by my fervent love to the world, and by a sorrow for the many sins and bitter sorrows which begin with this kind of compliment. And I have but one request to the reader, that he will answer my affection to him with its like; and then we shall agree in affection, though my reason stand not right in his eye."

The argument of authority has, invariably, great weight with this class of writers. Our author does not neglect to appeal to the eloquent anathemas of St. Basil, and St. Ambrose, but seems, nevertheless, to attribute much greater importance to the fathers of his own time. The affectionate reverence with which he speaks of Mr. Bolton, is quite delightful.

"I do acknowledge, that I received my information of the judgment of the fathers, from holy and learned Mr. Robert Bolton, in his book called Directions for comfortable walking with God. And since I have been owner of the books themselves, I have examined the quotations, and made some further use of them."

#

"Should I not rather follow the directions of such a Noah, as Reverend Mr. Bolton was, than the modes of promiscuous company, that cannot pretend to follow any divine rule in these modes and formalities? Yea, whether I owe not a greater respect to the judgment and directions of such a father as Mr. Bolton was, than (suppose) to the freer conversation of younger divines, who never felt the agonies of conscience he did, nor saw the beauty of holiness which he saw? What though he be dead, and they living? he in his grave, and in heaven, and they at table, and present? Why are such directions read, but to be remembered and practised? And, according to the old rule, Finge Catonem, I have often thought, when I have, seen some take a liberty, what would Mr. Bolton say to such things as these? Had I never had any stronger reason for my forbearance than this, Mr. Bolton reproved it,' my heart would have smitten me for a compliance."

He afterwards appeals to the example of the primitive Christians, and alludes to the Lord's Prayer. Christ, he says, paid a great price for our small beer.

"St. Basil calls the devil (the great master of idolatrous and prophane ceremonies,) the maker of the laws of drinking, in that pathetical sermon. Men could not be commonly cheated out of their senses and reason, but by a ceremonious mist, some goodly pretence. Several nations have had their several ways; and barbarous people

first began, and others followed. The form of invitation among us is a health. Our blessed Saviour, who paid a great price for the bread we eat, and our smallest beer, taught us to ask for our comforts, as they that pray to do the will of God on earth as it is in heaven; and his apostle taught us, that every creature is sanctified by the word of God, and prayer. But, instead of prayer, we have, ‘Here is a health,' the form of prophaning of cups, and they are accordingly blessed. Such forms were unknown to the primitive Christians; but after that Christians waxed fat, and abused the blessing of plenty, they heard of it in a solemn manner from their teachers.

He cites a curious passage from St. Basil, which is, however, nothing to his purpose, as being levelled against drunkenness. The Saint describes the ancient preparation for the drinking combat.

Very early they meditate, and provide for their drinking; they adorn their rooms with carpets and hangings, they exercise, or train up their servants for it; they shew all care and diligence to provide cups, and cooling vessels, bowls, and plate, setting them out as in a pomp and solemn feast-day, that the variety and fairness of the vessels may beget an appetite, and stir up admiration, and that by the commodiousness and change of cups they may drink the longer. They appoint overseers and officers, the governor of the feast, yeoman of the wine; and, after all, there is but an order in a disorderly and confused thing. And, as the greatness of earthly princes is augmented by their guards, so do they, by assigning offices to drunkenness, as to a certain queen; they endeavour to hide the turpitude of it, by the means of these officers. And over and above, there are added crowns, and flowers, and ointments, and a thousand sorts of fumes and smells, &c. Then the drinking going on, they contend to increase the madness, and ambitiously strive for drunkenness, as for a victory; of which law they have the devil for the author, and sin the reward of the victory, &c. When they are thought to have drunk well, they fall to drinking after the manner of beasts, that stoop down to drink out of a running spring: for there stands forth a young man, not drunk as yet, bearing upon his shoulder a vessel of cooled wine: standing in the midst, he distributes drunkenness through crooked pipes. This is a new way of measuring to every man an equal share, that there be no envy, nor grudging, nor fraud, nor cheat in drinking. Every one takes the pipe, or canal, that is set before him, and drinks, at one draught, as much as the vessel contains, out of the silver pipe."

[ocr errors]

The extract from St. Ambrose is also amusing and curious.

"You may see the ranks of divers cups, which you may imagine to be a battle set in array; golden and silver vessels set out, you

[ocr errors]

would think it a show. In the middle, there is a horn full of wine, non epularis, sed præliaris instrumentum buccina; not to serve as a trumpet to call to a feast, but to sound a battle, First, they flourish and picqueer with smaller cups, as in a skirmish. But this is no show or appearance of sobriety, but the rule of drinking. For, as actors of tragedies do sensibly, and by degrees, raise their voice, until they have opened the passage for a lively voice, that afterwards they may make the place ring with the greater noise; so they do, at first, exercise themselves with prelusory cups, to provoke to a thirst, lest perchance they quench it, and, being satiated, they may after. wards drink no more. When they are warm, they call for greater cups then the heat grows to a flame. Dry meat grows hot with thirst; and as the vessels begin to be low, they are filled up with purer or unmixed drink. Cups contend with meat, and betwixt whiles they are often doubled. Then the drinking being protracted, there are great strifes and contendings who shall excell (exceed) in drinking. Nota gravis: It is a disgrace, or a disparagement, to a man, if he excuse himself, or if a man think it would do well to temper the wine. And thus they do till they come to the second course or service. But as soon as the banquet is done, and you would think they must rise, then do they again renew their drink. And when they have done all, then they say they do but begin. Then the golden pots are carried, and the greater goblets, as so many instruments of war. And lest this be thought immoderate, and excessive, there is a measure made, and the strife is before a judge, and it is determined by a law. The Agonothetes, or master of these games and revels there, is Fury, the stipend is Debility, the reward of the victory is Fault, the event of the war is uncertain a great while, -These are the only strifes that are inexcusable. If a man in war finds himself too weak, he turns his arms, and deserves a pardon; but here, if any man gives up, or turns his cup, he is urged to drink. If, where you strive for masteries, any man lift you up with his hand, you lose the garland, but you are free from suffering injury thereby : in your banquets, if a man take off his hand from the wine, it is poured into his mouth. All are drunk; the conquerors and conquered, do all lie down drunk, and very many asleep. Neither is it lawful to carry any of them to their grave, before he that feedeth them hath seen vengeance done to them all, that he may revenge his expense upon them. A most doleful spectacle to the eyes of Christians, a most miserable show, &c. Ambrose de Helia et Jejunio, cap. 13."

P

[ocr errors]

The following respectful enumeration of authorities, we apprehend, will come upon the reader with the pleasure of novelty, at any rate. Alas! how few of this noble army of martyrs live in the annals of fame.

"I will forbear to produce the sayings of Augustine in this place, referring him to some following heads; nor will I be large in quotations out of our modern divines, who have reproved this exor

bitant humour of the times, as Reverend Mr. Bolton calls it. Read him if you please, Directions for walking with God, p. 200. What saith the most learned Mr. Thomas Gataker to it? Hear him. Also to let pass the brutish and swinish disposition of those that think there is no true welcome, nor good fellowship, as they term it, unless there be deep carousing: of healths to the bride and bridegroom, and every idle fellow's mistress, till the whole company's wits be drowned in drink, that not religion only, but reason itself be wholly exiled, and the meeting itself be rather called a drunken match, than a marriage feast. This vehemence is not usual in that great man, but, it seems, the matter moved him. Epist. before Mr. Bradshaw's sermon, called the Marriage-feast.

66

7

Read, if you would see and read, what is convincingly and persuasively written by that attractive and divine preacher, Dr. Robert Harris, in his Drunkard's Cup, folio, page 307, &c. The ingenious and reverend Mr. Samuel Ward, of Ipswich, gives examples of six or seven that soon died after their drinking healths, by means thereof; and prescribes, as the best means against ruining drunkenness, if great persons would first begin thorough reformation in their own families, banish the spirits of their butteries, abandon that foolish and vicious custom, as St. Ambrose and Basil call it, of drinking healths, and making that a sacrifice to God for the health of others, which is rather a sacrifice to the devil, and a bane of their own. In his sermon, called Wo to Drunkards, p. 537, and 553 of the Collection of his Sermons. That excellent expositor of the Canticles and Revelations, Mr. James Durham, of Glasgow, in Scotland, in his Exposition of the commandments, Com. 7, saith, That drinking of healths, and pledging, is one of the highest provocations in drunkenness, and dreadful perverting the end for which God hath given meat and drink, p. 390.

"That very judicious and zealous.divine, Mr. Richard Garbut, (author of that full and excellent demonstration of the Resurrection, much and very deservedly commended) falls heavy upon the sin of drunkenness, and with a keen edge, in a homely, but, methinks, majestic northern dialect, strikes at healthing, to strike the cup out of his hand, and the sin out of his heart. The drunkard, devil-like, (O read and fear, fear and abhor, abhor with repentance) is a sinner, who cannot be content to be wicked alone, but he must needs tempt others to the same wickedness also. Do not healths, and whole ones, and putting the cup to the nose, and down the throat, or down the neck, look for it? And will you not do me right, &c.? One come from the dead, to awaken drunkards and whoremongers. The substance of some Sermons of his, p. 70, et alibi. I have heard that worthy Mr. John Geree hath written a tract on purpose against healthing."

He states and answers the argument of singularity and oddity in refusing to fall in with a common custom, exceedingly well.

"I do presume, this ceremony of healthing had no better inventor than the first deceiver and inventor of sin, and his teachable and

forward disciples joining with him he that ordered the scene, made this prologue to it, for them that are so apt to learn and act. And, it is most likely to deceive, and take, because it hath the face of friendship, and the good looks of love and kindness; and he that dissents from it, looks like some odd peevish humourist, an unhewn piece of moroseness, that will not fall in, and close in the square of society, and, therefore, is fitter to live by himself, and to keep home, than to come abroad. And if the dissent breed an argument, the consentors clearly carry it by the poll; and they that oppose it are judged to wrangle against points of honour, civility, breeding, good manners, good nature, yea innocency, and the received custom of all sorts and qualities of well-tempered men, men of great virtue and accomplishments. How ridiculous doth that odd man look, that makes not one among them? as ridiculous as if he wore a high-crowned hat, lined, and faced with scruples, a deep ruff, and a fur-gown; as made up of scruples, formality and seriousness. This ceremony is so innocent, that what can be said against it? I say, if no more but this, it would raise presumption into a rational confidence, that it is not good, because so many, that I will not describe, are so forward, so constant, so open at it, so urgent, and so quarrelsome about it; and because others are so ready at a call, so apt to imitate, so conceited and apish at it: whereas, if it were but so innocent and virtuous, as some paint it out to be, men would be more averse from it, not so public in it, and soon grow weary of it.

"There are many divine rules given us, by our heavenly master, that are quite out of use in society and common converse; and we know, that men are slow to learn, and very bashful openly to profess, and shew what is truly good and pious. Healthing implies praying if men were called upon to pray without drinking, how mute would healthers be? But now how forward to begin, how earnest to exhort and press others to it? The reason of this is so plain, it need not be produced. And whether it should be followed, because virtuous persons sometimes, and in some cases, use it, or laid aside, because bad men make an ill use of it, may deserve a resolution, since it is none of the virtues of virtuous men, who do rather submit in compliment, than commend, or approve of it."

He shews, that the truly pious should distinguish themselves from the rest of the world, even by their modes of performing the commonest offices of life.

6

"As we may, with admiration and praise, say, as our Saviour said upon another occasion, we have bread to eat, which the world knows not of:' so we ought to use such a way of eating and drinking together, at our ordinary tables, and common visits, as becomes those that have a table by ourselves, always in the sight of our Heavenly Father, and King of Kings. Our ordinary meat and drink to feed and refresh those bodies that are joined to the Lord, and to rise again in glory: and, therefore, as we live for a peculiar service, proper to saints and Christians, and die to rise to a superlative proper glory, so, certainly, we

« AnteriorContinua »