« PrécédentContinuer »
death, and ourselves become a sacrifice as in the day of slaughter.
To sum up this particular; there are, as you perceive, many cautions to make our pleasure safe, but any thing can make it inordinate, and then scarce any thing can keep it from becoming dangerous.
Habet omnis hoc voluptas:
And the pleasure of the honey will not pay for the smart of the sting. "Amores enim et delicia maturè et celeriter deflorescunt, et in omnibus rebus, voluptatibus maximis fastidium finitimum est:" "Nothing is so soon ripe and rotten as pleasure and upon all possessions and states of things, loathing looks as being not far off; but it sits upon the skirts of pleasure."
Ὃς δὲ τραπέζας
̓Επορεξάμενος μελιχρῶν ἔθιγεν,
"He that greedily puts his hand to a delicious table, shall weep bitterly when he suffers the convulsions and violence by the divided interests of such contrary juices:"
Οδε γὰς χθονίας θέσμος ἀνάγκας
"For this is the law of our nature and fatal necessity; life is always poured forth from two goblets."
And now, after all this, I pray consider, what a strange madness and prodigious folly possess many men, that they love to swallow death and diseases and dishonour, with an appetite which no reason can restrain. We expect our servants should not dare to touch what we have forbidden to them; we are watchful that our children should not swallow poisons, and filthiness, and unwholesome nourishment; we take care that they should be well-mannered and civil and of fair demeanour; and we ourselves desire to be, or at least to be accounted, wise, and would infinitely scorn to be called
• Boetius, 1. 3. Metr.
fools; and we are so great lovers of health, that we will buy it at any rate of money or observance; and then for honour, it is that which the children of men pursue with passion, it is one of the noblest rewards of virtue, and the proper ornament of the wise and valiant, and yet all these things are not valued or considered, when a merry meeting, or a looser feast, calls upon the man to act a scene of folly and madness, and healthlessness and dishonour. We do to God what we severely punish in our servants; we correct our children for their meddling with dangers, which themselves prefer before immortality; and though no man think himself fit to be despised, yet he is willing to make himself a beast, a sot, and a ridiculous monkey, with the follies and vapours of wine; and when he is high in drink or fancy, proud as a Grecian orator in the midst of his popular noises, at the same time he shall talk such dirty language, such mean low things, as may well become a changeling and a fool, for whom the stocks are prepared by the laws, and the just scorn of men. Every drunkard clothes his head with a mighty scorn; and makes himself lower at that time than the meanest of his servants; the boys can laugh at him when he is led like a cripple, directed like a blind man, and speaks like an infant imperfect noises, lisping with a full and spongy tongue, and an empty head, and a vain and foolish heart: so cheaply does he part with his honour for drink or loads of meat; for which honour he is ready to die, rather than hear it to be disparaged by another; when himself destroys it, as bubbles perish with the breath of children. Do not the laws of all wise nations mark the drunkard for a fool, with the meanest and most scornful punishment? and is there any thing in the world so foolish as a man that is drunk? But, good God! what an intolerable sorrow hath seized upon great portions of mankind, that this folly and madness should possess the greatest spirits, and the wittiest men, the best company, the most sensible of the word honour, and the most jealous of losing the shadow, and the most careless of the thing? Is it not a horrid thing, that a wise or a crafty, a learned or a noble person, should dishonour himself as a fool, destroy his body as a murderer, lessen his estate as a prodigal, disgrace every good cause that he can pretend to by his relation, and become an appellative of scorn, a scene of laughter or derision, and all, for the
reward of forgetfulness and madness? for there are in immoderate drinking no other pleasures.
Why do valiant men and brave personages fight and die rather than break the laws of men, or start from their duty to their prince, and will suffer themselves to be cut in pieces rather than deserve the name of a traitor, or perjured? and yet these very men, to avoid the hated name of glutton or drunkard, and to preserve their temperance, shall not deny themselves one luscious morsel, or pour a cup of wine on the ground, when they are invited to drink by the laws of the circle or wilder company.
Methinks it were but reason, that if to give life to uphold a cause be not too much, they should not think it too much to be hungry and suffer thirst for the reputation of that cause; and therefore much rather that they would think it but duty to be temperate for its honour, and eat and drink in civil and fair measures, that themselves might not lose the reward of so much suffering, and of so good a relation, nor that which they value most be destroyed by drink.
There are in the world a generation of men that are engaged in a cause which they glory in, and pride themselves in its relation and appellative: but yet for that cause they will do nothing but talk and drink; they are valiant in wine, and witty in healths, and full of stratagem to promote debauchery; but such persons are not considerable in wise accounts; that which I deplore is, that some men prefer a cause before their life, and yet prefer wine before that cause, and by one drunken meeting set it more backward in its hopes and blessings, than it can be set forward by the counsels and arms of a whole year. God hath ways enough to reward a truth without crowning it with success in the hands of such men. In the meantime they dishonour religion, and make truth be evil spoken of, and innocent persons to suffer by their very relation, and the cause of God to be reproached in the sentences of erring and abusing people; and themselves lose their health and their reason, their honour and their peace, the rewards of sober counsels, and the wholesome effects of wisdom.
Arcanum neque tu scrutaberis illius unquam ;
P Hor. Ep. 1. 18. 37.
Wine discovers more than the rack, and he that will be drunk is not a person fit to be trusted: and though it cannot be expected men should be kinder to their friend, or their prince, or their honour, than to God, and to their own souls, and to their own bodies; yet when men are not moved by what is sensible and material, by that which smarts and shames presently, they are beyond the cure of religion, and the hopes of reason; and therefore they must "lie in hell like sheep, death gnawing upon them, and the righteous shall have dominion over them in the morning" of the resurrection.
Seras tutior ibis ad lucernas :
Hæc hora est tua, cum furit Lyæus,
Much safer it is to go to the severities of a watchful and a sober life; for all that time of life is lost, when wine, and rage, and pleasure, and folly, steal away the heart of a man, and make him go singing to his grave.
I end with the saying of a wise man: He is fit to sit at the table of the Lord, and to feast with saints, who moderately uses the creatures which God hath given him : but he that despises even lawful pleasures, οὐ μόνον συμπότης τῶν θεῶν ἀλλὰ καὶ συνάρχων, ‘shall not only sit and feast with God, but reign together with him,' and partake of his glorious kingdom.
THE MARRIAGE RING; OR, THE MYSTERIOUSNESS AND DUTIES OF MARRIAGE.
This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.-Ephes. v. 32, 33.
THE first blessing God gave to man, was society: and that society was a marriage, and that marriage was confederate
9 Mart. 10. 19. 18.
by God himself, and hallowed by a blessing: and at the same time, and for very many descending ages, not only by the instinct of nature, but by a superadded forwardness (God himself inspiring the desire), the world was most desirous of children, impatient of barrenness, accounting single life a curse, and a childless person hated by God'. The world was rich and empty, and able to provide for a more numerous posterity than it had.
― ̔́Εξεις, Νουμήνιε, τέκνα,
Χάλκον ἔχων· πτωχὸς δ ̓ οὐδὲ τὰ τέκνα φιλεῖς.
You that are rich, Numenius, you may multiply your family; poor men are not so fond of children, but when a family could drive their herds, and set their children upon camels, and lead them till they saw a fat soil watered with rivers, and there sit down without paying rent, they thought of nothing but to have great families, that their own relations might swell up to a patriarchate, and their children be enough to possess all the regions that they saw, and their grandchildren become princes, and themselves build cities and call them by the name of a child, and become the fountain of a nation. This was the consequent of the first blessing, increase and multiply.' The next blessing was, the promise of the Messias,' and that also increased in men and women a wonderful desire of marriage: for as soon as God had chosen the family of Abraham to be the blessed line, from whence the world's Redeemer should descend according to the flesh, every of his daughters hoped to have the honour to be his mother, or his grandmother, or something of his kindred: and to be childless in Israel was a sorrow to the Hebrew women great as the slavery of Egypt, or their dishonours in the land of their captivity.
But when the Messias was come, and the doctrine was published, and his ministers but few, and his disciples were to suffer persecution, and to be of an unsettled dwelling, and the nation of the Jews, in the bosom and society of
r Quemlibet hominem cui non est uxor, minimè esse hominem; cum etiam in scriptura dicatur, "Masculum et fœminam creavit eos, et vocavit nomen eorum Adam seu hominem." R. Eliezer dixit in Gen. Bab. Quicunque negligit præceptum de multiplicatione humani generis, habendum esse veluti homicidam.
• Brunck. Anal. ii. 342.
ι Christiani et apud Athenas, τὰς τοῦ ἀγαμίου καὶ ὀψιγαμίου δίκας refert Julius Pollux 1. 3. epi ȧyáμxv. Idem etiam Lacedæmone et Romæ. vide Festum verb. Uxorium atque ibi Jos. Scal.