Page images
PDF
EPUB

XI.

protection for a while, but sooner or later S E RM. the punishment will certainly follow --it certainly will, however appearances may at present be to the contrary.

Drunkenness destroys the character; I appeal to yourselves if this be not the case, Let a man's skill in his profession or trade be what it will, if he be deficient in sobriety, is it not always a sufficient reason against employing him, if you can with any tolerable convenience meet with any

other person ? and very justly too, for of what signification is his being able to exer-cise his calling, if it be at all times uncertain, whether he may not have disqualified himself? But if it injure his character, it will of course lessen or destroy his means of getting his livelihood; the refusal of those around him, to employ and place confidence in him, has naturally and necessarily this effect.

Drunken,

SERM. Drunkenness likewise injures the morals, XI.

.:9 besides its being a heinous vice in itself, it usually betrays us into many others, as it both heightens our passions, and, by depriving us of the guardianship of reason, unfits us to contend with them. The swearer, when under the influence of this temporary, madness, is doubly profane, the sensualist doubly sensual, and the contentious man doubly contentious. Excess of drink has a tendency, in like manner, to increase all our other evil propensities. Supposing, therefore, that it had not in itself that

great

criminality which it undoubtedly has, yet, as it inflames and incapacitates us from combating every other vicious passion, all approaches to it ought to be avoided with the most scrupulous caution.

This vice is likewise extremely prejudicial to the family of the person who is guilty of it, both as it unfits him for the exercise of his calling with that ability

XI.

which he might otherwise exert, and de- SERM. prives him of the confidence of his neighbours, and as it leads him into habits of expence, which in most cases he can ill afford.-It is an observation of Solomon's, which general experience confirms to us, that the glutton and the drunkard shall come to poverty. Added likewise to this ill consequence, it is the property of this vice to create moroseness of manners and brutality of behaviour, which imbitters and corrodes all domestic intercourse. Drunkenness shortens life, and renders, in most cases, death lingering and painful, while, from the weakness both of body and mind, which it never fails to bring on, it indisposes us to meet it with a decent fortitude.

These, I think, are the chief arguments which can be brought against this disgraceful vice, and surely none can possibly be stronger ; let us bring them into one view: if we habitually practise it, we may be cer

XI.

SERM. tain that we shall not go to heaven, and in

the mean time it renders our abode on earth as disagreeable as possible ; it deprives us of the confidence of our fellow-creatures: it subjects us to their contempt; it heightens our bad passions; it destroys our virtues; it unfits us for gaining a livelihood, and supporting ourselves and our families as we ought, and it makes us a disgrace instead of being an ornament, and a terror instead of a comfort, to our relations and friends; it besides destroys health, shortens life, and renders death in most instances dreadfully painful.

There are many who are convinced of all this, but who having early entangled themselves in the habit of drinking, have not hii therto (notwithstanding their desires and ena deavours) been able to free themselves from it. To such may be useful, in addition to setting before them all the above dreadful consequences of their vice, an exhortation to avoid those situations, and to forsake those

compaa

XI.

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

companions, where and with whom they have SERM.
been accustomed to offend; if they will not
do this, whatever they may pretend or think,
they are not earnest in their wish of reform-
ing i for the probability of their arriving at
it, if they reflect a moment, they cannot but
perceive to be very slender.

As the arguments of those who endea-
vour to prove too much are little attended
to, I must observe, that it is one thing to
have been unintentionally betrayed in a
few single instances into this vice, and ano-
ther to be an habitual drunkard, and that
these dreadful consequences which I have
mentioned belong particularly to the latter,
nor are they to be understood as extending
to him who may occasionally and without
premeditation have deviated from sobriety;
but yet every instance is a sin, every in-
stance is unworthy of a man, much more
of a Christian, and if these instances are
frequently repeated, they soon degenerate into

a habit.

« PreviousContinue »