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6. Intemperance generates other vices-impure lustings, angry passions, profane language, insolent manners, obstinacy of heart and contempt of reproof. "Look not upon the wine," says Solomon," when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup; for thine eyes shall behold a strange woman, and thine heart shall utter perverse things; yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, thou shalt say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not. When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again." 7. Intemperance has most lamentable effects on families.
It subverts order and government. How shall a man command his children and his household, when he has not reason and virtue enough to command himself? How shall he govern their actions, when he is enslaved to his own passions? If sometimes, in a serious frame, he inculcates on them the duties of religion, his shocking example, defeats his good exhortations. The parent, who would be regarded in his station, must make his actions and instructions agree.
The government, which an intemperate man exercises, is too passionate and wanton, too unsteady and inconsistent to be revered. Government, to be efficacious, must be calm and rational..
What devotion can there be in a family, whose head is given to intemperance? He is often absent at the hours of prayer. If he is present, he is incapable of leading in the solemnity. His sensual habit renders him indifferent, and, by degrees, averse to the sacred exercise. You may doubtless recollect instances of the discontinuance of family worship from this unhappy cause. Some who have early begun, and for a time observed this important duty, falling into licentious connexions, have intermitted, and, at last, laid it aside.
This vice destroys domestic peace and tranquillity. The man addicted to it, grows factious, peevish and VOL. III.
fretful. He falls out with his best friends, hastily condemns their innocent, and even their most prudent behavior, is deaf to reason, spurns restraint and resents advice. He considers as enemies those who seek his welfare, and mistakes their kind offices as tokens of hatred.
He makes all around him unhappy, and those the most so, who stand in the nearest relation. When he is absent, how anxious are they, lest he fall into temptation and a snare? What pain they feel, when he foams out his own shame? How they wish to conceal from the world the infamy which he betrays, and at which he cannot blush? When he returns from abroad, how fearful are they, lest he come charged with passion to be let out on his household ?
This sin brings family distress. It begets negligence, interrupts business, slackens industry, obstructs education, and spreads discouragement and langour. While the intemperate householder is indulging himself abroad, his family at home are miserable for want of the comforts, which his labor should provide,and his frugality should preserve; and his children are running wild for want of parental wisdom and virtue to guide and restrain them.
8. The scripture abounds in the most solemn warnings against this sin.
"Woe to them," says the prophet, "who are mighty to drink wine-the harp and the viol, the tabret and the pipe are in their feasts; but they regard not the work of the Lord, nor consider the operation of his hands." Our Savior cautions us, that "we be not at any time overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, lest the day of the Lord come upon us unawares." St. Paul says to the Romans, " Let us walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." He says to the Thessalonians, "Ye are children of light and of the day; we are not of the night nor of darkness; therefore let us
not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken, are drunken in the night; but let us who are of the day, be sober." "The time past of our life," says St. Peter, "may suffice us to have wrought. the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in excess of wine, revellings, banquettings and abominable idolitries-I beseech you, that ye abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."
They, who are "drunk with wine," cannot " be filled with the Spirit." Drunkenness and revellings are works of the flesh; these are contrary to the Spirit, whose fruits are moderation and temperance. They who "walk in the Spirit," will "not fulfil the lusts of the flesh." And they who "walk in ungodly lusts, being sensual, have not the Spirit."
This sin is of a hardening nature, and recovery from it peculiarly doubtful, because it is more opposite, than most others, to that work of the Spirit, by which sinners are awakened to conviction, and renewed to repentance. And it is an observable, but melancholy truth, that few, once enslaved to it, return to a life of sobriety. If now and then, awakened to a sense of danger, they resolve to escape from the snare, they are again entangled therein and overcome.
Finally Consider, that this sin must be renounced, or the end of it will be death."Nothing can enter into heaven, that defiles or works abomination." "Be not deceived-drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God." The end of all things is at hand; be sober, watch unto prayer, and let your moderation be known unto all men." "Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord. when he cometh shall find watching. But if the evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to eat and drink with the drunken, his Lord shall come, when he looketh not for him, and shall cut him asunder and appoint him his portion with hypocrites."
I have stated the nature and represented the danger of intemperance. Hear and take warning.
Abstain from the appearance of evil; avoid the company of the dissolute; be on your guard in times and places of temptation; resist the beginnings, and shun the occasions of so dangerous a vice. Be diligent in the duties of your calling, and daily commit yourselves to divine protection.
Let the professors of religion decline those liberties which might dishonor their character, wound religion, or embolden the licentious.
To conclude: Think not that drunkenness is the only sin that endangers mens souls: Know that no unrighteous man, in whatever respect' he is such, can inherit the kingdom of God.
When you look on a drunkard, you view him with a kind of horror. You wonder that he can pursue, without remorse, a course so destructive of health, substance and character, and so fatal to his soul; and that neither the warnings of others, nor his own experience, nor the admonitions of scripture can have any effect to make him wise. But turn a thought on yourself. Is there no iniquity in you? Consider, that every allowed and customary sin excludes from heaven. Perhaps you are not intemperate: But if you are unjust, envious, malicious, uncharitable, impatient, discontented, or in any respect vicious, you are as really unfit for heaven, as the drunkard. And you can no more be saved without repentance, than he. And repentance in you must be the same thing as in him. It must be a change of heart from the love of sin to the love of righteousness. It must be a renovation in the spirit of the mind, a renouncing of the old man, and an assuming of the new.
Think not yourself unconcerned in a discourse of this kind, because you never was a drunkard; but remember, that the same gospel, which excludes the
drunkard, excludes every habitual sinner from the kingdom of heaven. While you wish your intemperate neighbor would apply this discourse, apply it yourself. While you wish he would amend his ways, amend your own. Keep yourself from your iniquity, and lay aside the sin which easily besets you. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.