Wo to Drunkards.
ISAIAH 28. I.
Wo to the Crown of Pride, to the Drunkards of Ephraim.
IN this Chapter we have the substance of one of the * Prophet Isaiah's Sermons, of which there are two parts; The first doth concern Israel, to the 4th Verse. The second hath reference to Judah, from thence to the end of the Chapter. The words before us fall under the first part of the Chapter, wherein we have
1. The Subject persons to whom the Prophet speaketh; viz. the ten Tribes of Israel, who are here called The Crown of Pride, that is, A proud Kingdome, and Ephraim: often so it is, that Ephraim is put for the whole Kingdome of Israel, partly because Ephraim was an honourable Tribe, descended from Joseph who was the best of all the Sons of Jacob, and partly because Ephraim was the first Royal Tribe in that Kingdome, Jeroboam who was the first King over the ten Tribes being an Ephraimite. Also the Subject that this Pro∣phesie lights upon, is said to be the head of the fat valleys over∣come with wine, by which the City of Samaria is meant, which was built upon a Mountain to the which there were fruitful Valleys belonging; thus described, (a) because they did yield much Wine and Oyl. Now Samaria being the Royal City, even the place where the Court and Represen∣tative Body of the whole People used to be, therefore it is put for all the Kingdome.
2. We have the Judgement denounced by the Prophet against this Kingdome of Israel, Wo to them; i. e. woful misery shall surely come upon them: Wo to the Crown of Pride, Wo to the Drunkards, Wo to Ephraim. And in the Verses following we have a more particular description of the Wo which is in this Verse generally threatned, the sum whereof is, A denunciation of speedy and utter ruine, Page 2 which was executed accordingly by Salmanasser.
3. We have the Causes of this Wo, viz. their Sins; of which two are mentioned in the Text, namely, Pride and Drunkenness. No doubt but there were many other evils which they were guilty of, but these two were principal, and the Causes of many other, and thence put for all the rest. The Doctrine therefore from the words is,
That Pride and Drunkenness are two woful Evils.*
Having discoursed at several times concerning the evil of that sin of Pride, we proceed now to speak concerning that of Drunkenness. And in the Doctrinal handling of this Point, we shall onely attend two things: 1. To enquire what that Drunkenness is that the Scripture denounceth Wo against? 2. How it doth appear that Drunkenness is a woful evil?
Quest. 1. What is that Drunkenness against which the Scri∣pture denounceth Wo?
Answ. There is a twofold Drunkenness: I. A Drunken∣ness which is Metaphorical and Spiritual,
Isa. 51. 21.(b)O thou that art drunken, but not with Wine. The Jews were in such a case, as drunken men are wont to be in, by reason of the Wine of Divine Judgment that was given to them. And one may be drunken with Errour and Spiritual Delusion; therefore is it said concerning Mystical Babylon, that is Rome, that the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication,
Rev. 17. 2. Antichristian corrupt Doctrines do as it were intoxicate and inebriate the Souls of them that do imbibe or imbrace them: they become drun∣kard-like, even vertiginous thereby. Also one may be drunk with Security,
Isa. 29.9,10.They are drunken but not with wine, they stagger but not with strong drink: for the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. Delusion and Security had made them as it were dead drunk. Some think that that is the Drunkenness which the Text Speaketh of; for Pride and Security are wont to go together, the one being the Cause of the other. Wo to the Drunkard's, that is (say some) to those that are secure in their sins, and setled upon Page 3 their lees in an evil course. No doubt but that this is implied, and partly intended here, but that is not the onely nor the principal evil here aimed at. Therefore 2. Drunkenness is taken in a Literal, proper sense: There is Corporal as well as Spiritual Drunkenness, even a Drunkenness which not so much the Soul as the Body is the Subject of; and that is it which the Prophet here denounceth Judgement for: therefore in the latter end of this Verse he speaketh of be∣ing overcome with wine. The Valleys near Samaria abound∣ed with fruitful Vines, *Whence they had store of Wine, and they abused that creature to great Intemperance. When men abuse their Bodies by immoderate drinking, that's the sin the Text condemns. Now further, there is
1. Drunkenness in the sight of God, that is, When aman doth drink more wine, or of any other inebriating drink, then the Rule alloweth of.
Ephes. 5. 18.Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess: The Apostle mentions wine, because that was the common drink in those dayes, and the greatest dan∣ger was in respect of that, by reason of the strength and pleasantness thereof: but under that expression of Wine, all other inebriating drinks are comprehended. Now if there be any excess in the use thereof, that's Drunkenness; if there be an inordinate affection or love to strong drink, that's Drunkenness in the sight of him that trieth the reins and fearcheth hearts. Hence the Apostle speaketh of the excess of wine, I
Pet. 4. 3.* the Greek word there used notech an inordinate affection and desire after Wine. And Solomons de∣scription of a Drunkard is, that he is A lover of wine,
Prov. 21. 17. such an one is an habitual Drunkard, and he whose practice is according to that inordinate affection, is actually so: yea, if a man doth but drink a Cup of Wine more then is good for him, he is guilty of this Woful Evil. As he that eateth more then is good for him, is guilty of the sin of Gluttony; so he that drinketh to any excess is justly charged with Drunkenness.
2. There is Drunkenness in the sight of men. Sometimes this evil is so gross and notorious, as that the wholesome Laws of men take hold of it and punish it; namely, when a man is so overcome with wine, as that he can neither speak nor act like a rational Creature, when reason is disturbed
thereby, and Sense and Speech and Motion fail, (c) when neither the Head nor Hand can do their offices aright.
Prov. 16. 9.A thorn goeth up into the hand of a arunkard; had he his wits about him, he would not suffer thorns to be thrust into his hands.
Psal. 107. 27.They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end: this is palpable drunkenness. We must know that a man may be deeply and damnably guilty of this evil in the sight of God, though it should never proceed to those outragious out-breakings, whereby men cannot but observe it.
We come then unto the second thing propounded for the clearing of the Truth before us; viz. To shew How it doth appear that Drunkenness is a woful Evil? Answ. Several things may here be mentioned, as demonstrations of the Doctrine.
1. If we look into the Original and Causes of this sin, we shall see the evil of it: And it hath no better an author then the De∣vil himself, who never was the author of any good (except ac∣cidentally, besides his intention, and against his will) since he was a Devil. Drink is in it self a good creature of God, and to be received with thankfulness, but the abuse of drink is from Satan; the wine is from God, but the Drunkard is from the Devil,
1 John 3. 8.He that comitteth sin is of the Devil, for the Devil sinneth from the beginning: for this purpose was the Son of God manifest, that he might destroy the works of the Devil. Therefore he that committeth drunkenness (for that is sin) that is, if in his ordinary course he commit it) is of the Devil. Drunkenness was one of the works of the Devil which Christ came to destroy. It hath also another Cause, as bad or worse then the Devil, namely, Sin. It is a sin, and the cause of sin, (as afterwards will be shewed) and also the effect of sin. Therefore what a wofull evil is it? That corupt nature which is in sinners, canseth them to become guilty of this evil,
James I. 14.He is drawn away of his own last, and enticed; when a sinner is drawn into Drunkenness, his own lust hath enticed him. Hence Drunkenness is expressly and by name mentioned amongst the works of the flesh,
Gal. 5. 19. 21.The works of the flesh are manifest, drunkenness, re∣vellings, and such like. How wofull must that evil needs be, that hath no other causes but such as these?
Page [unnumbered]2. The very Light and Law of Nature condemns this pra∣ctice. Drunkards sin not only against the written word of God, but against that light and law which is written in their Consciences. Now those are wofull Transgressions; The Apostle doth aggravate the sins of some, in that in those things which they know naturally, as bruit beasts they corrupt them∣selves, Jude ver. 10. A Drunkard though he be a bruit beast, yet he knoweth naturally that he ought not to corrupt him∣self with this vile practice. If there were no Scripture to con∣demn this evil, yet he hath that within him, a Candle of the Lord in his own breast, which ••eweth him that this is an iniquity which the Judge will punish. Hence even Hea∣thens, that have had nothing but the light of nature to guide them, yet have spoken against this evil, yea and made severe Laws to punish it. Solon (who is accounted amongst the wisest of the Grecian Princes) * made it a Law, that if a man in publick place should abuse himself with drink, his Crime should be deemed Capital. If he were Drunken but once, he was punished with death for that transgression: which I mention not to justifie the severity of that Law, but to shew how odious this detestable evil hath been, even to those that have had nothing but the Light of Nature and Reason to guide them.
3. A Drunkard is an universal Transgressor of the Whole Law of God. James faith, Chap. 2. ver. 10. Whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. We cannot say concerning the Drunkard, that he keeps the whole Law, or that he offends in one point one∣ly, but we must say, that he is guilty of all, even guilty of the breach of all the Commandments: and that not onely as he that breaketh one link in a Chain may be said to break the whole Chain, but he hath broken every link, that is, every Precept of that Divine Chain of the Royal Law. If the que∣stion be, Which of the Commandments is Drunkenness a transgression of? The Answer must be, Not of one alone, but it is a general violation of the whole Law, and of every Precept therein. The Drunkard is an Idolater, for he loveth drink as he should love God, that is, above all, even above Wife and Children, and Name and Estate, and every thing that he hath in this world. And there is Robbery, Adultery,Page 6
nay Murther enwrapped in the bowels of this sin, as after∣wards will appear. The Drunkard is a Transgressor against the first Table of the Moral Law, in as much as by this sin he is rendred unfit to Worship God in any Religious duty: for, Wine taketh away the heart,
Hos. 4. 11. but the heart must be given to God in every duty: if he Pray, it must be with understanding; and therefore when that is taken away by drink, what work will be make of it? should a vile sin∣ner dare to appear before God when he is in drink, he would but take the Lords Name in vain, and bring weath and a curse upon his own Soul. Some (d) think that Nadah and Abihu were distempered with drink when they offered strange fire before the Lord, and conceive that to be the rea∣son of their so miscarrying, because presently after the story of their sin and death, the Lord faith, Do not drink wine or strong drink when ye go into the Tabernacle of the Congrega∣tion, left ye die,
Lev. 109. But though that conjecture be un∣certain, yet it is from that Scripture evident, that excess in Wine will unfit for any Religious service: and he that shall venture to Worship God when it is so with him, will offer strange fire, and hath more cause to fear that he shall die be∣fore the Lord, then to expect any merciful answer to those polluted Prayers, which are but as corrupt breath, enough to stain the Heavens. If his breath stink, by his being over∣come with Wine, in the nostrils of men, how do his Prayers stink in the Lords nostrils? Moreover, the Drunkard is a Transgressor of the Rule of Honesty as well as of Piety; therefore faith the Scripture, Let us walk honestly, not in drunkenness.
Rom 13. 13. so that the Word of God will bear us out in calling those that deserve the name of Drunkards, Impious and dishonest persons.
4. Drunkenness is a wastful, destructive Evil, which is an∣other thing which sheweth the Wofulness of it. A Drunkard is a meer stroy good: wherefore the Apostle faith that is Wine there is excess,
Eph. 5. 18. The Greek word (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) which is there used, signifieth Wastfulness and Prodigality: It is the same word which is used concerning the Pro••gil, when 'tis said that he wanted his substance with riotons living,
Luke 15. 13. There is much Prodigality, Riot, Pro•useness in this sin: for thereby the good Creatures of God are wasted,Page 7 which is contrary to the express charge of the Lord Jesus, who hath said, Let nothing be lost,
Joh. 6.12. but all that is spent in drunkenness is wofully lost; And this considera∣tion proveth that a Drunkard is a woful guilty creature be∣fore the Lord, for so are they that take his Name in vain. It is said in the third Commandment, that God will not hold him guiltless that taketh his Name in vain, which doth inti∣mate that such sinners are exceeding guilty before the Lord. Now to abuse any of his Creatures, is to take his Name in vain: in this respect Drunkenness is a breath of the third Commandment. It is also a great master of precious Time; men have no need to be prodigal of their Time, they have not so much of it: For what is your life? it is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away,
Jam. 4. 14. Nay, it is but a moment comparatively that any one hath to be in this world; In a moment they go down into the grave: and it is a thousand pities that any part of that mo∣ment should be lost, yet all is lost that is spent in rioting and drunkenness; for that Time is lost, which a man cannot give a comfortable account concerning the spending of it unto Jesus Christ at the last day. Most certain it is, that all men shall be called to an account in that solemn great day which is at hand, as for all Talents which they have been intrusted with, so in special for that great and precious Talent of Time: But what answer can be given for the Time that hath been consumed in lewd and drunken pra∣ctices? When it shall be said to you in the hearing of Hea∣ven and Earth, You had such a space of Time allowed to you in the world, you lived so many years upon earth, but how did you spend that Time? And when Conscience shall bring in a black Bill of Indictment, and say, There were so many dayes and nights spent in rioting and drun∣kenness, what answer can you give for this, when we shall all stand before the Son of God in that day?
Yet more, Drunkenness is a great Waster of a man's Estate. How common is it for those that are given to this Vice, if they gain any thing when they are sober, to lose it again when they are in drink? yea, it may be to lose more in one drunken day or night, then they gain in many dayes, weeks, mon•ths, years perhaps? The Scripture faith, that
Page 8the Drunkard shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall death a man with rags,
Prov. 23. 21. And doth not Expe∣rience •estisie that this word of God is Truth? How many have you known that once had * considerable Estates, they were very well to pass in the world, but when once they have saln in with idle Company, and followed drunken Courses and Conforts, their Estates have soon been consurned, and they clothed with Rags, nay have scarce had Rags to cover them? Often so it cometh to pass, that he that liveth a Drunkard, dieth a Beggar; but seldome is it seen that a Drunkard keepeth an Estate long: therefore the Holy Ghost hath said by Solomon, that He that loveth plea∣sure shall be a poor man, and he that loveth wine shall not be rich,
Prov. 21. 17. In this respect Drunkenness is a breach of the Eighth Commandment: A Drunkard is a Thief and a Robber, yea the work kinde of Robber in the world, for he robbeth his own House, he robbeth his Wife and Chil∣dren, yea himself: and as Self-Murther is the most horrid, so is Self-Robbery the greatest Villany. Nay, the Drunkard Robbeth God, for he maketh himself uncapable of honour∣ing God with his substance. Go to a miserable Drunkard, and ask him for something to relieve a poor body that is in want, or to promote some publick and pious Work, and he hath nothing to spare; the cursed Alehouse hath devoured his substance, that he hath nothing left thereof, neither for God nor for himself. How wastful and how woful then doth this Evil appear to be?
Yea 5. This woful Vice is every way prejudicial, injurious and destructive to him that shall be subject to it. It is so not onely in the respects which have been mentioned, but in every other respect, that may be said or thought of.
A little further to instance under this Head:
1. It is injurious to, and brings Wo and Misery upon the Name of him that shall be guilty of it. It is a most dis∣graceful, infamous Vice: though a man should be but once guilty of this sin in all his dayes, yet that is a blot and dis∣honour upon his Name, and a matter of shame and hu∣miliation to him, as long as he hath a day to live; how
much more when he hath been often and ordinarily guilty of it? Hence it was that the wicked Pharisees, to, the in∣tent that they might be sure to disgrace Christ to purpose, said of him, that he was a Wine-bibber,
Matth. 11.19. That they might make every-body think meanly of Christ, they slanderously gave out that he was a drunken Companion: and of old such were looked upon as the very children of Be∣lial. Thence when Eli thought that Hannah had been drunken. She said to him. No my Lord, I have drunk nei∣the• wine nor strong drink, count not thine hanamaid for a daughter of Belial,
1 Sam. 126.96.36.199.16. For a man to love to be drunk, is horrible impiety; but it this be true concerning. *a woman; there's a daughter of Relial indeed. Now they were the vilest of the children of men who were so called: and hence it is that no man almost is willing to be called a Drunkard. They that love the practice, yet would not be thought to be as they are, because of the dis∣grace that is in it. The Drunkards Credit is crackt, and lost amongst all sober man; and therefore wise men carry to∣wards such, as, they would do to a person of no Credit, whom they dare not trust. Trust a Drunkard with an E∣state, and when he is in his Cups hee'll send it going: (e) Trust him with a Secret, and when he is drunken hee'll discover it; Trust him, and when he is drunken he will undo himself and his friend too. I have read (f) that in some places in Spain, if a man hath been known to be over come with drink, (though it were but once in all his life) his Testimony must never be received in any Case, but he must be looked upon as a person of no same, or credit in the world. Thus doth it un∣do the Name of the Transgressor.
2. Drunkenness is injurious to the Body of him that shall be subject to it. It brings Wo upon the Body, and therefore is rightly called a woful Evil. Hence are many bodily dis∣tempers. It is said,
Hos. 7.5.In the day of our King, the Princes have made him sick with hottles of Wine: Whether it was their Kings Birth-day, or his Coronation-day, or what∣ever that day of their King might be, which was observed, they kept the day after a very profane manner, there was Page 10 much Drunkenness and Debauchery on that day, and Sick∣ness was the Effect of that Intemperancy. To this truth also doth Solomon best witness,
Prov. 23. 29. 30.Who hath wo! who hath sorrow? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine, they that go to seck mixt wine. Red∣ness of eyes (blindness, and the like) is one disease which is mentioned in stead of many more, which follow drunken∣ness, and are amongst the Woes which attend it. Hence I say are diseases, Dropsies, Consumptions, Feavers, Gouts, Apoplexies, &c. Not but that a man may have these dis∣eases and yet live temperately, but by Intemperancy he shall be sure to have them, or some of them. Many a man hath not lived out half his dayes, but hath died before his time, because he had been wicked over-much in respect of this iniquity. It hath been averred, (g)That Drunkenness hath killed more then ever the Sword did: Many have been cast down wounded, many have been slain by it, yea Millions of Millions that have been slain, and cast down into the pit for ever by the hands of this one woful Evil.
3. It, is injurious to the Souls of men. How woful is that evil, which will bring not onely temperal Wo upon the Bo∣dies, but ever fasting Wo upon the Immortal Souls of all that shall die under the guilt of it? And that Drunkenness is injurious and wofully prejudicial as to the Soul, is evi∣dent:
1. In that it darkeneth the Light of Reason. That noble Faculty of the Soul is as it were over whelmed and drowned by this Vice: Hence in the 7th Verse of this Chapter it is said, concerning those wicked and shameless Ministers that would be drunk sometimes, They are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink, they erre in vi∣sion, they stumble in judgement. Whilest a man is under the actual power of this Evil, he is like a Reasonless Creature, devoid of all judgement and understanding: therefore the Prophet speaking concerning Drunkards, faith, They have no knowledge,
Isa. 5. 13. g. d. they are like a company of bruits. Nay, Drunkenness is worse then a bruitish sin; for a Beast will drink no more then shall do him good, and therefore a Drunkard is worse then a Beast. Reason is that whereby a man excels a Beast, but this sin depriveth him of Page 11 his excellency. How woful is that Evil which shall deprive a man of the Image of God, and debase him below a Beast? It maketh one more like a Mad man (that is berest of his Reason) then any thing else. (h) One being asked What is Drunkenness? Answered well and truly, It is a voluntary Madness. And to the same purpose doth the Scripture speak,
Jer. 51. 7.The Nations have drunken of her wine, therefore the Nations are mad. If Drunkards were not mad, they would never do as they do. Was it not madness in Esan, when he sold his Birthright for a mess of Pottage? How much more madness is it to part with all good for a draught of Beer? The Drunkard will lose his Friends, and lose his Estate, and lose his Name, and lose Heaven, and lose his Soul for ever, and all for a little drink. Oh! what horrible madness is this! Drunkenness is a besotting sin, we say commonly, A drunken Sot; it turns men into meer Sots. Some that have been of excellent Parts, by means of excessive drinking have lost their Parts; and although they were before that of rare understandings, have been be∣sotted so as that they have been beneath the ordinary sort of men.
2. Drunkenness brings wo upon the Conscience. There are some sins which make deep and fearfull wounds in the Con∣science, and this is one of them; if the sinner have any con∣science in him, this will wound it. Indeed there are some that feel not these wounds for the present, because they have drunk Conscience into a deep sleep for a while, but when their Souls shall awake in the midst of Eternal flames, all the wounds received by this sin will be felt with a witness. You know a man may be wounded sorely, and yet not feel it at first, but afterwards hee'll be sensible of pain and misery enough: So it is, as to the wounds which sin doth give to the Souls of men; at present the sinner feels nothing per∣haps, but at the last! at the last! at the last! sin will wound him terribly: Therefore is it said concerning this sin of Drunkenness, As the last it bi•eth like a Serpent, and stingeth like an Adder,
Prov. 23. 32. Some write concerning that Serpent, that when a man is first 〈…〉 the poison of it tickleth him, so as that he cannot to hear laughter, but when the venome is got to his heart, it doth torment Page 12 him most intolerably: So is it with sin, and especially the sin of Drunkenness, while it is in committing there's foolish pleasure in it, but at the last the veneme of it will reach to the heart, and then the bitterness will be a thousand times greater then ever the pleasure was.
3. Without Repentance this sin alone will ruine the Soul for ever. Now what a woful Evil is that which is the poison and bane of an Immortal Soul? Drunkards, think of this. If you knew that there were poison in your Cups, you would be loth to drink them off: did you see a Spider or other poisonfull Creature in the Pot, you would be loth to drink it down. I have read (i) of a Drunkard, that when he was drinking there hapned to be a Spider in the Pot, which he not observing, was poisoned, and died immediate∣ly. Believe it so it is, there is Soul-poison in your Cups, there are Spiders in your Pots, though you know it not: as sometimes they said to the Man of God, O there is death in the Pot; so I say to you that are Pot-Companions, O there is poison, there is Eternal Death in your Pots, drink, and your Souls will die. Now what a woful Evil is this, that hath slain Millions of Immortal Souls, one whereof is more worth then all the world? If a Soul be shut out of Heaven, then it is undone: but so shall the Soul of the Drunkard be for ever, without true Repentance. If I bring not Scripture to prove what I say, believe me not. See then
Gal. 5. 21. where the Apostle speaking concerning those that live in Drunkenness and Revellings, and such like evils, I tell you (faith Paul) as I have told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdome of God. Hearken Drunkards, hearken; in the Name of God be it spoken to you, You shall not inherit the Kingdome of God. Remember what is said of the evil drunken Servant,
Matth. 24. 49. with
Luke 12. 45.If the evil Servant shall smite his fellow∣servants, and eat and drink with the drunken: What if he do drink with the drunken? what then? Then reade the following Verses, where it is said, The Lord of that Ser∣vant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not ware of, and shall cut him asunder, and ap∣point him his portion with the Hypocrites: there shall be weep∣ing and gnashing of teeth. Will you go on still in this trespass? Page 13 will you live and die in it? Then as sure as this Bible is the Word of God, when Death shall come and cut thee asun∣der, when Death shall make a separation between thy Soul and thy Body, thou shalt have thy portion appointed thee in that place, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth for evermore! Thus concerning the fifth Particular, de∣monstrating that Drunkenness is a Woful Evil.
6. This is seldome goeth alone, but is the unhappy parent of many other Iniquities like it self. Hence are many wicked words uttered. When Drunkards are in their Cups, they care not what they say, nor of whom: They will Lie, Swear, Revile, Scoff, Blaspheme, so as some of them, when in a sober mood, would be loth to do. Therefore David complained, saying, I was the song of the drunkards,
Psal. 69. 12. When drink is got into the brain, then out come ••lchy Songs, and scoffing at the best men, yea at godliness it self in the power of it. Hence are many wicked deeds as well as words: Contentions arise from this. Look again into that Text, which some have not unfitly termed, The Drunkards Looking-glass, even that,
Prov. 23.29.Who hath wo? Who hath contentions? who hath bablings? who hath wounds without cause? Drunkards have all these: when wine or strong drink hath raised their spirits, they will fall to babling, and quarrelling, they know not about what, and words will bring on blows, and these will make wounds when there is no just cause for it. That vile sin of * Un∣cleanness, which he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall into, is the fruit of Drunkenness; therefore ver. 33. faith, Thene eyes shall behold strange women: where there is rioting and drunkenness, there is wont to be chambering and wanten∣ness,
Rom. 13. 13. Yea, the most horrid and prodigious Wickedness that the Sun ever saw, or the Earth ever heard of do many times follow upon this wofull cursed Evil of Drunkenness. I remember (k)Lonicerus mentions a sad Example of a miserable man, who being under some dis∣qui••ment of minde, the Devil suggested to him, that he must needs commit one of these three sins, Drunkenness, Adultery, or Murther: now the man thought with himself, he had better be guilty of Drunkenness, then of either of the other two. Now that was the subtilty of the Devil, Page 14 who knew that if he drew him into Drunkenness, he should be likely to prevail with him to commit the other abomina∣tions also: And so it came to pass, for when he was drunken, he went and defiled his Neighbours Wife, and after he had done that, he murthered her Husband, lest he should be revenged of him for that wicked fact. This cometh of Drunkeness.
7. It is a sin that is rarely, truly repented of, and turned from. Hence, that expression of adding drunkenness to thirst, is a proverbial speech, denoting one that is obstinate and resolved in an evil course, that nothing can reclaim him,
Deut.29.19. This made a Father despair concerning his Drunken Son: when he was told that one of his Sons was given to Gaming, he hoped for him; and when he heard that another of his Sons was given to Uncleanness, he hoped for him also: but when he was told that a third Son was addicted to Drunkenness, Nay then (saith he) alas! I have no hope concerning him. He supposed that for those other Vices, Age and Experience might cure them, but this will grow with Age, till the sinner drop down into the grave, and into Hell. I will not say with him, there is no hope for such an one, for in and by Jesus Christ there is hope; There is hope in Israel concerning this thing: not the vilest Drunkard in all the Congregation, but there is help in Christ for him. There are some of you that have lived in this sin even to gray hairs; In the Name of the Lord I speak it to you, The Spirit of Jesus Christ is able to convert you, and the Blood of Jesus Christ is able to cleanse and sanctifie you; but you will be Miracles of Mercy, if it should be so: such Exam∣ples are exceeding rare. (l) Some have enquired into this matter, and upon diligent search have found but an Example or two in an Age, amongst notorious Drunkards, who have been truly brought home to God. We may say of Drunkenness, as Solomon faith of Adultery,
Eccles. 7. 28. that not one of a thousand of those that are guilty of it, do return from it again. It doth so bewitch and besot the com∣mitters of it, as that though they know it hath, and will prove hurtful to them, yet they cannot be perswaded to leave it:
Prov. 23. 25.They have stricken me, shall the Drunkard say, when I awake, I will seek it yet again. Blows Page 15 cannot beat him out of it, but he will to it yet again, and that too the very next day after he hath smarted for it. An old (m) Drunkard being perswaded to leave his Drunken∣ness, because it was prejudicial to him in respect of a Dis∣ease in his Eyes, professed he had rather lose his Eyes, then not be drunken. Forlorn Wretch! Incorrigibleness doth usually attend this sin. We see by what is written,
Deut. 188.8.131.52.21. that Instruction, Admonition, Correction,* will not reform and reclaim an obstinate Drunkard. By all this then it appears, that this is a Wofull Evil; so that well might the Prophet say, Wo to the Drunkards of Ephraim.
We come therefore to infer some Uses from the Truth that hath been thus far cleared and proved.
USE I. If Drunkenness be such an Evil as hath been*expressed, then the contrary is to be affirmed, concerning that Christian godly Sobriety which the Scripture requireth, even that it is a very necessary and profitable Virtue. There is a Moral Sobriety which is not saving, and yet even that is lovely and commendable: therefore it is said concerning the young man in the Gospel, who having been put in minde of the Commandments by Christ, and told that he should keep them, replied, All these have I observed from my youth, it is said, that then, Jesus beholding him, loved him,
Mark 10.20,21. which sheweth that Morality is a lovely thing, and well consistent with Christianity. Some among the Heathen have been notable Moralists, such as Cato, Seneca, Ari∣stiaes, &c. And although we must not say that their Mora∣lity saved them, yet it was not altogether unprofitable to them, for God did therefore reward them with many out∣ward blessings, and they did thereby escape many temporal Judgements, which otherwise would have befallen them: And they had more quietness in their own spirits, then otherwise would have been, being freed from those stinging Accusations of Conscience, which more profane sinners, that usually have an Hell in their Consciences, are daily tor∣mented with. Moreover, their punishment in another world will not be so great, as of those that have been of a vicious Conversation; for they shall chiefly be punished at the day of judgement, who have walked after the flesh,
2 Pet.2.10.Page 16 and so have all Drunkards done. But then there is a Chri∣stian Sobriety, even that grace of Sobriety, which the Scri∣pture speaketh of, and which differs as much from that Moral Sobriety that some Heathens excelled in, as the Sun painted on the wall cometh short of the real Sun in the Fir∣mament, the one being onely a common, the other a spe∣cial grace of the Spirit. Christian Sobriety doth proceed from such Principles, as no meer Moralist was ever acq∣uainted with, sc. From a Principle of Love to Christ, when a man out of sincere love to Christ, and desire to be like him, doth endeavour to walk even as he walked, that's Christianity, that's an Evidence of the grace of Sobriety. See
Gal.5.22,23.The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: so that amongst the fruits of the Spirit, Love is mentioned first, and Temperance, which implieth Sobriety, or that virtue which is contrary to Gluttony and Drunkenness, is last men∣tioned, as flowing from that Mother-grace of Love, which hath many Daughters, whereof Temperance or Sobriety is one. Also true Christian Sobriety is from Faith; hence Peter faith concerning the Gentiles, that their hearts were purified by faith,
Acts 15.9. The Gentiles were much given to that defiling sin of Drunkenness, as the same Apostle else∣where sheweth,
1 Pet.4.3. but by Faith they were taught to see the evil of that, as well as of other iniquities, and to live soberly as becometh the Gospel. So again Christian Sobriety is from that grace of Hope: A believer hath good hope through grace that he shall be with Christ for ever in Heaven; this hope hath that blessed effect upon his heart and life, as that it causeth him to abstain from all those Pra∣ctices which are displeasing to the Lord, and to Purifie him∣self, as he is pure. Here now is Christian Sobriety. All this may be intimated to us in that Scripture,
1 Thess 5.8.Let us who are of the day be sober, Putting on the breast-plate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation. Now this Christian Sobriety is that which is especially necessary. So it is as to the necessity of the Precept: The Moral Law re∣quireth Sobriety, and this Law is confirmed by the Gospel,
Rom. 3. 31.Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the Law. The Gospel, which is Page 17 the word of Faith, doth establish, though not the Ceremo∣nial, yet the Moral Law: wherefore it is said, that the grace of God, i.e. the Gospel, which is a very gracious Doctrine and Dispensation, which brings salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying a godliness and worldly lusts, we should live [Soberly] righteously, and godly in this present world,
Tit. 2.11,12. Men under the Gospel are taught piety towards God, righteousness towards men, and Sobriety in respect of themselves. This Sobriety is also necessary, in order to attaining Eternal life,
1 Cor. 9.25,26,27.And every man that striveth for the mastery, is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible Crown, but we an incor∣ruptible: I therefore so run, I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, left that by any means, when I have preached to others, I my self should be a cast-away. The Apostle we see was very abstemious, even temperate in all things, left notwithstanding all his knowledge, and gifts, and service done for God, he should miss of Heaven at last. They that run a race must be very temperate; if they be not sober, they will never obtain the reward: So must they that are ingaged in a Christian course, that desire to run that Race of Christianity, live temperately, or else they will fall short of that Crown of Eternal life. Moreover, Sobriety is ne∣cessary, that so a man may be sit for Death and Judgement. When Paul reasoned before Felix of righteousness, temperance, and judgement to come, Felix trembled,
Acts 24. 25. Well he might, for having lived intemperately, his Conscience must needs tell him, that it would be Wo with him at the Judge∣ment to come. It is a vain thing for any one to hope for men, from Christ at the day of Judgement, that doth not live soberly now. Wherefore the Apostle faith, Be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
1. Pet. 1. 13. Then it is not hope, but presumption and vain confidence in the man that shall think Christ will be gracious to him in the day when he shall be revealed from Heaven, though Sobriety be not re∣garded by him: And therefore this grace is very beneficial as well as needful, for the Christian that hath and doth ex∣ercise the grace of Sobriety, is there by capacitated to with∣stand the temptations of Satan. Therefore is that,
1 Pet. 5.3.Page 18Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. Men that are drunken, are not capable of desending themselves against their enemies, that watch to destroy them. Were not the Assyraians undone by this?
Nah. 1.10.While they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry. A few men may rout and ruine thousands of their ene∣mies being over come with drink. Was not the huge Host of Benhaded, wherein there were above thirty Kings, even van∣quished by a few of the Israelites? And how came that to pass, but because Benhaded was drinking himself drunk, he and the thirty and two Kings that helped him, and thereby was incapacitated to make resistance against his enemies?
1 Kings 20.16. So it is, godly Sobriety, that doth render Christians fit to encounter with Spiritual Adversaries. And (not to enlarge further here) by means of this Sobriety I am speaking of, Christians are sitted to attend the duties of their Cal∣lings, not onely particular and Civil, but general and Hea∣venly. Hence is that,
1 Pet.4.7.Be ye sober, and watch unto prayer. Insobriety, Drunkenness unfits for Prayer, and for every other good work (as was shewed in the demonstration of the truth before us) even so where the grace of Sobrie∣ty is alwayes exercised, a Soul is fit to have to do with God in any duty, being alwayes prepared to have blessed Com∣munion with him; then which, what can there be more be∣neficial or desirable?
USE II. If Drunkenness be such a woful Evil, as hath been proved; Then they that have been kept from falling into this sin, and much more they in whom it is mortified have abun∣dant cause of Thankfulness unto God, because of his preventing and sanctifying grace in this respect vouchsafed. If we ought to pray (as Christ in that Platform of Prayer given to his Disciples hath taught us) that God would not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil, then when the Lord doth so, we ought to praise him: and if deliverance from out∣ward temptations be matter of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, how much more is this true concerning delive∣rance from sinful temptations? for a man had better see many afflictions, then one sin; yea, there is more evil in the least sin, then in any affliction, nay then in all the ever∣lasting
burnings of the bottomless Pit. Therefore they that have been preserved from falling into sin, have the greatest cause of Thankfulness that may be. I doubt not but that there are many here this day, that were never guilty of this sin (at least-wise not in sight of men) in all their lives: But unto whom are you beholden for this preservation, but unto the preventing grace of God? Will you say that there is a Principle of inherent Grace within you, whereby you have been kept from this, and other the like enormities? Suppose so, yet that Principle of grace is from God: Nei∣ther will inherent, without upholding, preserving, prevent∣ing grace keep from this, or any other evil. Though it's im∣possible to live in this sin, where there is true grace; he that hath the least spark of true grace in his heart, it is not possible that he should live in this sin, yet there may be a falling into it: therefore Christ hath charged even his own Disciples to take heed of this sin,
Luke 21.34. which shew∣eth, that a true Christian may possibly he overtaken with it. And we reade in Scripture of godly men that have been stained with this iniquity, as Noah, Lot, Uriah, &c. yea, there is not a godly man on earth, but hath that in his own heart, which would soon lead him to the commission of this and all other abominations, if God should but leave him a little to himself: wherefore it was that the holy (n) Martyr, when he heard of any one that was guilty of Drunkenness, Uncleanness, or the vilest wickedness, would smite upon his breast, and say, In this heart of mine is that which would have made me commit the same evil. if the grace of God had not prevented. Oh therefore be humbly thankful to the God of all grace. But much more have they cause to be for ever thankful, who are mortified unto this sin: for a man may possibly never commit this evil outwardly, and yet the sin not mortified in him; it may be he may not have an opportu∣nity to practice this iniquity, or fear of punishment, or shame may deter him, and yet he is not mortified to it. This sin is mortified, when a man doth forsake and abhor it more then Death or Hell, because thereby God is offended and dishonoured; they that do so, shall not die—but live,
Rom. 8.13.If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortifie the deeds of the body, ye shall live.Page 20 Drunkenness is one of the deeds of the body, and of the flesh; I do not say that he that doth not commit that sin shall live, but he that doth mortifie it shall live: for as he that repenteth truly of one sin, repents of all; so he that indeed is mortified to one sin, is so to all: such then shall live, and therefore have abundant cause of rejoycing and thankfulness before the Lord.
USE III. This Text and Doctrine is like a Thunderbolt, enough to shake the Soul, and Split the Heart of every Drunkard under Heaven. I could be glad if there were no need to speak by way of Terrour and Awakening to such sinners. And time was, when there was not need for Ministers to preach much against this sin in New-England; Oh that it were so now! But we may say, as sometimes the Prophet Oded spake in another case to the Host of Israel, You have (faith he) slain [your Brethren] with a rage that reacheth up to heaven, but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the Lord your God?
2 Chron. 28.9.10. so I say, This sin is amongst us, even amongst us also, yea and the rage of it be∣gins to reach up to Heaven, it crieth for Judgement. It is sad, that ever this Serpent should creep over into this Wil∣derness, where threescore years ago he never had had any footing, but now it is come, and I fear will hardly ever out again, although it hath already devoured many. If we speak of that which God and Scripture call Drunkenness, namely, when there is a drinking of Wine or strong drink to any excess, how many are there that have cause to lay their hands upon their mouthes, and to cry Guilty, before the Lord? I have heard some say, that there is more Wine drunk in this Town, then in most Towns of the same greatness in the Christian world. We may then fear that there hath been much excess herein, that any should have cause so to speak or think. And how many are there that must be reckoned a∣mongst woful Drunkards, that nevertheless do not believe any such thing of themselves? There are that flatter them∣selves in their iniquity, and think that they are hardly guilty of this sin, because they are not went to be subject to such, worse then beastly Drunkenness, as not to be able to under∣stand what they do or say; when as it may be the reason of it is, because by using themselves to excessive drinking, they are Page 21 able to bear a great deal. Now that is worse then to be meerly drunken, for it is to be a Drunkard: One (o) may be drunken, that is not a Drunkard; and one may be a Drunkard, that is seldome drunken. He that abhors the sin of Drunkenness, yet may be overtaken with it, and so drun∣ken; but that one act is not enough to denominate him a Drunkard: and he that lovteh to drink Wine to excess, though he should feldom be overcome there by, is one of those Drunkards upon whom the Wo in the Text doth directly fall.
Isa.5.22.Wo unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink. Again, there are that will make others drunk: some have done this out of horrid pro∣faneness of spirit, and therefore its a delight to them, to draw those into this sin that make any Profession of Religion. If they can but make a Church-member drunk, then they are glad; which argueth a strange degree of impiety. Others have done this out of Coverousness: There hath been an horrible thing done in this respect; Some amongst us (who they are the Lord knoweth) out of Covetousness have sold Liquors and strong drink to these poor Indians, whose Land we possess, and have made them drunk therewith. What a fearful sin is that! The First-fathers in this Colony, who are now the most of them in heaven, began this Plantation, in part, out of respect to the Conversion and Salvation of the Na∣tives amongst whom we live; but what woful degeneracy is this that some should rise up amongst us, that out of love to a little filthy lucre, shall teach them such wickedness as before they were never acquainted with. The Indians are of them∣selves the saddest spectacles of Misery, and the most woful remembrance of the ruines of the righteous and glorious Image of God, that ever mortal eye beheld; but therefore their sin is not a little aggravated, that shall make such poor creatures more the children of Hell then they were before. If there be any in the Congregation (as I doubt there is) whose Conscience doth accuse him of making others drunk, let him hear the word of the Lord which is written,
Hab.2. 15. 16.Wo to him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also: The cup of the Lords right hand shall be turned unto thee. By these things then it is sadly evident, that there is cause enough to bear witness against this Evil.
Page 22Now to speak something further, and more particularly, by way of Conviction and Awakening to those that love and live in this sin of Drunkenness, know and believe.
1. That woful Judgements have ever followed this sin. The Text faith it, and woful Experience proveth it. What hath been formerly said concerning the wofulness of the sin of Pride, may here be applied to this of Drunkenness. Personal Miseries come from hence upon the Estates, Names, Bodies, Souls of guilty ones, as was more fully shewed the last Sermon. And this sin brings Family-judgements; Thousands of Fa∣milies that have been brought to ruine thereby. Drunkards bring a curse upon their Children, and poor Posterity after them; nay, it may be one act of drunkenness, and that com∣mitted by a good man, shall bring a Curse upon some of his Children to the worlds end. Do we not see it in Noah? he was a righteous man, and was drunken but once in all his life that we reade of, and much might be said to exense him, in that he knew not that there was an inebriating quality in Wine, nevertheless that Drunkenness brought a Curse upon one of his Children, which continueth to this day, although it be Four thousand years since that sin was committed. Whose heart then is it that doth not tremble to live in such an evil? Yea, and this sin is the woful procuring Cause of many Publick Calamities in the world: Was not this one Principal cause of the Babylonian Captivity? see else
Isa. 56. 9.All the beasts of the field come to divour, yea all the beasts in the forest. Here now the ravenous Babylonians are called upon to make a prey of the Jews, and the reason of it we may see ver. 12. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill our selves with strong drink: So that the luxury and drunkenness which abounded amongst the Jews, especially considering that their Watchmen, their Ministers, who should have been examples of Sobriety, and Mortification to all round about them, were some of them given to this iniquity, was one principal cause of their enemies coming to devour them. The like we may see Chap. 5.V. II. Wo unto them that rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink, that continue untill night, till wine inflame them. Now minde what follow∣eth, ver. 13. Therefore my people are gone into Captivity. And the sin also was in a special manner the procuring Cause of Page 23 that Assyrian Captivity, wherein the ten Tribes were carried away, and never restored to this day, although it be now a∣bove Two thousand years since that Judgement befell them: therefore is it said to the Drunkards of Ephraim, in the next words to the Text, Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one; they boasted, & were confident in their out ward strength and Fortifications. &c. Well, but faith the Lord, he not proud of your strength, for I will bring a strong one upon you, on attemp•st of hail, and destroying storm, as a flood of mighty wa∣ters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The meaning is, that the Assyrians should break in upon them and full upon them as thick as hail-stones, and destroy them, be∣cause of their Drunkenness and other sins they lived in. And hath not the Christian World drunk deep of the Cup of di∣vine Judgements for this sin? What Woes hath it brought upon Christendome, so called? Some have observed, (p) that it hath been in special for this sin, that God hath let loose the Barbarous Nations upon those that call themselves Christi∣ans, to scourge them, and to destroy them. The Turks (who are meant by the second of those Woes in the Revelation, when it is said, Wo, wo, wo, to the inhabiters of the earth,
Rev. 8. 13.) Providence hath raised them up, and sent them like a storm of hail upon the Europaan Nations, not only (though principally) to punish them for their Idolatry and Supersti∣tion, in worshipping graven Images, but also to plague the Nations, even the Christian Nations, for all their Profane∣ness, Luxuries, Drunkennesses. Poor miserable Germany hath bled for this sin! Hath not God made the Sword drunk with Blood? Yea, at this day, is not the Sword made drunk with Christian, and with Protestant blood for this sin? My Text faith, Wo to the Drunkards of Ephraim; even so, Wo to the Drunkards of Hol∣land. Is not Salmanasser at this day coming against the fat valleys for this sin? And if we look nearer home, What sad Harvests have we in New-England had of late years? and doubtless, the prevailing of this iniquity hath been one cause of it. The good Creatures of God have been greatly abused by many amongst us, unto much Sensuality and Intemperan∣cy, therefore doth the Lord take away Creature comforts from us. This last Summer, what excessive Rains have there Page 24 been? Since that Drunkards are to be seen up and down in almost every Town, no wonder that the Lord in Judgement maketh the Earth drunk. Nay, come yet nearer home, and look upon this great Town, How hath God threatned us for this, as well as other sins? Remember the sad Fire that was here in this part of the Town about three years ago: And where did that Fire break forth? Began it not at the Ale∣house? As if the Lord should from Heaven point with the finger, and say, Behold, I am displeased with you because of your excessive drinking. Boston, Boston! take heed of this sin lest I lay thee even with the ground, and thou become desolate.
2. Know, that this sin will certainly be bitterness in the latter end. Suppose the best that can be supposed, suppose the Lord should give you Repentance, and so forgive this iniquity, yet then it will cost you much bitterness of Soul. Extraordinary cases must alwayes be excepted, but otherwise, God is not wont to pardon great sins, without bringing first to great sorrows, and heavy breakings of heart for them. Now Drunkenness is a great sin, and therefore conclude thou mayest, that if ever the Lord pardon it to thee, he will first break all thy bones and heart for it: or if the sin be not mourned for, and turned from then bitter destruction will be the end of it. The Scripture saith of those whole God is their belly, that their end will be destruction,
Phil. 3. 19. Now the Drunkards belly is his God, unto which he offers a Drink∣offering. What bitter and lamentable ends have many Drun∣kards come to? Hath not the Lord been wont to make such persons awful Examples of divine Vengeance at last? What a sad end did Nabal come to, after he had been very drunken?
1 Sam. 25. 36. And what a lamentable end did Amnon come to at last, who was murthered by his own Brother at that very instant when his heart was merry with wine?
2 Sam. 13. 28. And yet he was the Childe of a godly Father, who no doubt had wept and prayed for the Salvation of his Children full many a time. And what a lamentable end did Elah come to at last? Whose servant Zimri conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza, and smote him, and killed him,
1 King. 16. 9. 10. It may be because thou are given to this sin, God will suffer thee to die drunken at last, Page 25 and to go down into eternal darkness in that condition: or it may be, God will leave then to that which is worse then any death, even sometime when thou art drunk, to fall into some horrid sin for which, it may be, the Sword of Justice shall cut thee off at last. I could produce many direfull in∣stances to this purpose. But I will onely minde you of one dismal Example, which Austine(g) mentions, who saith, that in Hippo (the Town where he was Minister) there was a Ci∣tizen whose name was Cyril, who had but one only Son, to whom he was extremely indulgent, and as Austine faith, loved him above God himself: this Son, as he grew up, fell in with bad Company, and became a Drunkard, and once coming home much distempered with drink, he attempted to ravish one of his own Sisters, and killed two other of his own Sisters, and Murt•ered his own Father that begat him, and his own Mother that bare him, who was then great with Childe: for which monstrous Impieties he was Condemned, and Executed. Now say, was not this young mans Drun∣kenness bitterness in the latter end? For the present, this ini∣quity may be sweet to you, but what will it be upon a Death∣bed, think you? It may be Conscience will roar for it then. Some notorious Drunkards, when they have been upon Death-beds, have cried our in Hellish horrour of heart, Ale∣houses are Hell-houses: The Ale-house hath brought my Soul down to the house of Hell for ever. Shall I tell you what I am able upon my own personal knowledge to testifie? I will tell you, that there have been some in this very Congrega∣tion, who upon Sick-beds and Death-beds have sent for me, desiring that I would cry to the Lord for them, and give them the best advice I could for their Souls. Seeing them in miserable di•ress of Conscience, I have said to them, Tell me now, what is that sin that doth most of all perplex and tor∣ment your Conscience? O my Company keeping, and my Drun∣kenness, saith one, and O my Company-keeping, and my Drunken∣ness, faith another. These have been the lamentable cries of poor dying sinners in this place, when they have seen them∣se'ves upon the borders of Eternity. And after death this sin will be bitter indeed: Then (as one speaketh) the Drunkard for every Cop of pleasure, will receive a Gallon of wo. Yea, for every drop of pleasure which he enjoyed whilest living and Page 26 sinning, he shall have a Tun of Wo. After Death cometh Judgement, and then the truth of this will be felt and believed.
For, 3. Know for Certain, that whoever liveth and death in this sin, shall perish to Eternity. It will be a folly for any such sinner to expect Salvation: Can you be saved without an In∣terest in Christ? This Lust alone, if loved or lived in, will keep Christ out of the Soul. I have read of a great man that once said to Luther,(r)Sir, we would all willingly be Christians, but we cannot since in our hearts to leave that custom of drinking to excess. But a man must leave that custom, or die and perish a Christless sinner for ever. It was partly shewed the last time, That Drunkenness is such an Evil as will assuredly exclude the sinner out of Heaven: Therefore the Lord hath commanded Churches to exclude such out of their Communion,
1 Cor. 5. II.If any man that is called a Brother, be a Drunkard, with such an one no not to eat. What a Church-member, and a Drunkard? Ah! vile: Ah! vile. Wo to that Church that shall know such amongst them, as make a practice of this iniquity, and yet not make them to know the Terrour of a Censure. How plain and perempto∣ry is that expression, Chap. 6. ver. 10. where it is said in so many words, Drunkards shall not inherit the Kingdome of God. And if not, it must needs follow, that Hell and destru∣ction will be the eternal portion of every Drunkard, so li∣ving, so dying. Wherefore the Evangelical Prophet Isaiah, speaking of Drunkards, yet faith, Hell hath enlarged her self, and opened her mouth without measure,
Isa.5. 14. Drunkards, tremble at this! Do you not see Hell gaping for you, and opening her mouth wide to receive your Souls, when once they are out of your Bodies? Yea verily, though a man should reform his life in many things very much, though he should be swept and garnished never so, having attained to great gifts, practising many duties forsaking many sins, yet if there be but this one lust of Drunkenness, which still his heart hath a secret love and liking to, there is no remedy, but dying in his present estate, he must be a damned wretch to all eternity. Oh that you would think sadly between God and your own Souls, on the words of the Lord Jesus,
Mat. 5. 29. 30.If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members Page 27 should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Though this sin of Drunkenness may be as dear to thee as life and limbs, though it may be as hard to part with, as to pluck out a right eye, or to cut off a right hand, yet away with it, away with it, as ever thou wouldst escape Hell fire.
4. Know, that if any of you that are here before the Lord this day, shall continue under the guilt of this sin, your iniquity will be hainously aggravated: for you call your selves Chri∣stians. If an Indian be drunk, that's bad, but for a Chri∣stian to be a Drunkard, is a thousand times worse. If Ephra∣imities (that is to say, such as prosess that they are the Lords people) be Drunkards, surely the Lord will judge them as those that break Wedlock, that break Covenant with him, are judged: yea, and you sin in the day, that is, against Go∣spel light. What saith the Scripture?
1 Thess. 5. 7. 8.They that be drunken, are drunken in the night: but let us who are of the day, be sober. For men that live in Gospel dayes, and un∣der Gospel-Ordinarces, to practice deeds of darkness, is shameful and horrible. And this sin is aggrarated from the place where you live: What? to be a Drunkard in New-England, where there are severe and wholsome Laws to pu∣nish this iniquity, and some are put to shame for it! Time was, when it was a strange thing to see or hear of a man drunken in New-England; and is this sin now become com∣mon? The Lord help! Will you be sinners in Zion? Will you be fools in Israel! You have moreover been told of the Judgements following this Transgression: you have been sadly, and solemnly warned against this Evil, and that not in a word or two, but by Sermon after Sermon. I remember I had occasion to Preach a whole Sermon, that I might restifie against the sin of Drunkenness, in this place, it is now above nine years ago. I am grieved at my heart, that there should be cause for me now to Preach more Sermons then one, fur∣ther to bear witness against the same Evil, whereby the eyes of Gods glory are provoked, and his blessed Name is highly dishonoured amongst us. Take heed now how you resist the Spirit of God. I might tell you, what I have some-where Page 28 read, (s) that a Minister having Preached a Sermon against Drunkenness, a profane Drunkard that was in the Congre∣gation, went out and scoffed, and mocked at what he had heard: and God smote him by a strange Providence, that he died forthwith, even whilest he was deriding at the Sermon which he had newly heard. Will you provoke the Lord to jealousie? Are you stronger then he? But if there be any Drunkards in the Congregation so desperate, as to go on still in the commission of this Trespass against the Lord, Be it known to you, That your blood shall be upon your own heads. I remember what God said to his Prophet Ezekiel,
Chap. 33. 7. 8.Son of man, I have set thee a Watchman unto the house of Israel, therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me, when I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely dies if thou dost not speak, to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand. O Lord! I tremble to think of that, that the blood of any poor Soul should be required of me: I trust in Christ that it shall not be so. I trust that none amongst you shall be able to say to me, when we shall all appear before the Judgement-Seat of Christ, Had you that taught us the Word of God, told us of the evil of our wayes, had you faithfully warned us of our danger, we would not have gone on therein. I remem∣ber also what the Lord further faith, Ver. 9. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way, to turn from it: if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast de∣livered thy Soul. Now then, I call Heaven and Earth to re∣cord against you this day, that I have warned you of this sin to turn from it: let Men and Angels, that are here present, bear me witness at the last day, that I have not shunned nor spared to declare unto you the Woes that will certainly follow upon continuance in this Evil. Therefore if there be any Drunkard that will be a Drunkard still, he shall die in his iniquity: But I have delivered my Soul.
USE IV. Let it be of Exhortation, and that in three words.
1. Let every one endeavour the suppression and extirpation of this Evil. This we should do, by labouring to pray it down. When we are taught to pray that the Name of God may be Page 29 hallowed, therein is implied, That we must pray that this and other such like Evils, whereby his glorious Name is much dishonoured, may be suppressed. And there are some that ought to do more then meerly to pray against it; Mi∣nisters must bear witness against it in their way: and it con∣cerns those that have any Civil Power in their hands, to bear witness against it in their way. If there were Magistrates in this Assembly, I would speak to them in his Name by whom Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice, and all the Judges of the Earth, and Exhort them to draw forth the Sword of Justice against this Evil. There are sundry of you that stand in some publick Capacity, Townsmen, Constables, Grand Jury∣men, &c. Behold, the Word of the Lord is unto you in par∣ticular this day, I lay the solemn Charge of God upon you, that you do your utmost towards the suppression of this abounding iniquity: Kill this Serpent, before it be grown too big for you. And therefore take heed that there be not through your means, or through your neglect, that which is the Fountain of this Evil; I mean, that there be not a Multiplication of Taverns, and Ale-houses, or the like, more then there is need for. I know that in such a great Town as this, there is need of such Houses, and no sober Minister will speak against the Licensing of them; but I with there be not more of them then there is any need of. Especially see that you keep a vigilant eye over these private, dark Ale∣houses, which do more mischief, then all the publick Houses do good, as being the very Sinks of Sin, whereby Youth is wofully corrupted amongst us. And if you finde out any that have made a Trade of this iniquity, and that have got part of their Living by the blood and destruction of pre∣cious Souls, see that you bring them forth to condign pu∣nishment; and as they have been exemplary in sinning, so let them be brought under exemplary punishment, that all Israel may hear, and fear, and do no more so wickedly.
2. Much more, Let every one be Exhorted to beware of be∣ing subject to, or coming any way under the dominion of this iniquity. For Motives, Remember what was said in the last use, as also formerly concerning the Wofulness of this Evil. By way of Direction here, I shall onely say two things:
1. Take heed of the Occasions and Temptations leading unto
this Evil. Some there are that will pray against this sin, and yet they will cast themselves upon temptations to it, which is to take Gods Name in vain; even as if a man should put his hand into the fire, and then pray that he might not be burnt: would you not say that such a one did mock the Lord? And what do they do less, who pray that they may not be drunk, and yet will not avoid temptations that lead unto it? e. g. Idleness is a temptation leading unto Drunkenness: when vile persons have nothing else to do, then they must go to the Ordinary, and drink till they be drunken. Idleness and ful∣ness of bread, so Idleness and fulness of drink are wont to go together,
Ezek. 16.49. Therefore take heed of Idleness, if you would escape Drunkenness. And take heed of Company∣keeping with those that would draw you unto this Evil; My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not: walk not thou in the way with them, refrain thy foot from their path. Take the Counsel which the Holy Ghost giveth by Solomon,
Prov. 23. 20.Be not amongst wine-bibbers. Avoid familiar fellowship with Drunkards; Avoid them as you would do men that have the Plague upon them, yea a Plague that will insect, and be the death of your precious immortal Souls. Remem∣ber that Scripture.
Prov. 13. 20.He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be de∣stroyed. And take heed of being more, then you have any just cause or call to be, in places where a temptation unto this sin is set before you: go not to, tarry not in saverns or Ordinaries, without sufficient reason to bear you out in such a practice. It is a sad thing, that Professors, and Church∣members should many of them be guilty of scandalizing the world in this respect. A carnal creature excuseth himself, saying, Why should not I go frequently to the Tavern, such an one is a Church-member, and I see him there often, such an one is esteemed a godly man, and yet I have seen him sit for hours together there, and why should not I do so as well as he? Thus doth the abuse of your lawful liberty become a snare, and ruine to many a poor Soul. Doth not the Scripture say, Look not upon the wine?
Prov. 23. 31. The meaning of which is, that men must avoid all tempta∣tions unto Drunkenness, as much as possibly may be. Drunkenness is like the (t)Basilick, of whom they say, that Page 31 if a man do but look upon it, he is thereby infected, and mortally poisoned. Therefore it will be your wisdome to keep out of the sight of this Evil, and far away from what∣ever shall tend, and tempt unto it. One thing more I shall mention, as a great occasion and cause of this sin, which therefore you ought to avoid, namely, that Heathenish Cu∣stome of Health-drinking. O'tis an (v) Heathenish, nay an Idolatrous Rice, witness those Ceremonies of putting off the Hat, yea of Kneeling, (a gesture of Adoration) which are Customary amongst profane Health drinkers. But the Word of God faith, Learn not the way of the Heathen, for the oustome of the [Heathen] people, are vain,
Jer. 10.2,3. and that Christians are redeemed from their vain conversation re∣ceived by tradition from fore-fathers,
1 Pet. 1.18. What should Christians do with the Mysteries (w) and Ceremonies of Bacchus? Do not think that onely a few Puritans or Preci∣fians, have been against this Custome of drinking Healths: for though (x) Papists indeed plead for the lawfulness of it, yet (y) Protestants generally condemn it. And the (z) An∣cient Doctors in the Church have thundred against this pra∣ctice, and that because it is (as they were wont to express it) A shoing born to draw on Drunkenness; it is a Bacchean Ar∣tifice, which Satan hath devised for that end. The Scripture likewise doth plainly enough reprove it, when Banquettings are condemned,
1 Pet. 4.3. The Greek word (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) which is there used, properly noteth a drinking by number and measure, as is usuall amongst Health drinkers. But especi∣ally when any shall be so vile, as not onely to drink Healths themselves, but to force others to do the like, their practice is very sinful and abominable. Is there any in this Congregation that hath done thus, that hath compelled others to drink Healths, and will you go on to do so still? I testifie from the Lord against that man, whoever he be, that an Heathen shall rise up in Judgement against him, and condemn him at the last day: witness else what is written,
Esth. 1.8. it is there said, that the drinking was according to the law, none did compell; for the King had appointed to all the Officers of his Page 32 house, that they should do according to every mans pleasure. So that those Heathens would not force any man to drink more then he had a minde to. Therefore beware of that evil pra∣ctice.
2. There is another Rule, which if it be observed, you shall never be under the dominion of this iniquity, and if it be neglected, all other Precepts will be in vain: it is this, Make sure of an interest in Jesus Christ, by faith unfeigned in his Name. There are some, that in giving Directions tend∣ing to the Mortification of this sin of Drunkenness, say to those that are guilty of it, that they must Pray, and adde Fastings to their Prayers, and Vows to their Fastings: all which things are good, and see that you attend them in their due order. But alas! the main thing of all is left out, if an interest in Christ be not sought after, and made sure of. All Prayers, Tears, Resolutions, Fastings, Vows against this sin, will never subdue it without Christ. Go to Jesus Christ for power against this, and all Corruptions: if thou art once in Christ, thou mayest by faith obtain power from the blood of Christ, for the killing of this sin; if thou art in Christ, his Spirit also will mortifie it: therefore the Scripture faith, that if you through the Spirit do mortifie the deeds of the body,
Rom. 8.13. Make sure then of an interest in Jesus Christ, and his Spirit will subdue and mortifie every lust in thy heart.
The last word of Exhortation shall be unto those that have been guilty of this woful sin of Drunkenness; Be this day excited and perswaded to repent, and turn from this Transgres∣sion. Some of you have through Temptation been drawn into this Evil. How many guilty, accusing Consciences are there here before the Lord? Oh repent of what you have done, if ever you have given way to Temptation, so as to be over∣taken with this so vile an abomination. Others (and many too) live in this sin, in their ordinary course they commit it, and therefore are servants to it; Oh repent, repent, before it be too late. Remember, that are long Repentance for it will be too late. Did not damned drunken Dives repent when it was too late? when his Soul was dropt down into the place of Torment, and he was crying for one drop of water to cool his tongue, then he bitterly repented of all the drunken merry-meetings, which in his life time he had seen, but then
Repentance was too late. Think seriously on that Scripture,
Rom. 184.108.40.206.Now it is high time to awake out of sleep, the night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness—Let us walk honestly, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness. Do not delay your Repentance, but now practice it. Anstine I remember consesseth, that he lived in those sins, in his vain youthful dayes, before his Conversion, and he had many se∣cret Convictions upon his Conscience, thinking with himself that tomorrow, or sometime hereafter, he would repent of, and turn from those vanities: but on a certain time it seemed to him as if he heard a voice from Heaven saying to him, Tolle & lige, Take up and reade; a Bible being by him, he taketh it up, and goeth to reading in it, and the first place which his eyes fixed on, was this Scripture last mentioned, and the Lord set in with it upon his heart, so as that he cried out, And why not now Lord? I have said, that hertafter I would leave my rioting, and drinking, and chambering, and wan∣tonness, but let me do it now Lord. Do you that are Drun∣kards say and do the lake, resolve upon present Repentance without delaying one day, or one hour longer. And know for your encouragement, that in case you do truly repent of this iniquity, God will forgive you. Do not think that Have to scare you with the •••• visions of that Eternal Night which is 〈…〉 your Souls. Do not think, my Bre∣thren, that I delight in ••••fying you with the sad tidings of Hell and Deads, Indeed sometimes I am forced to it. Know∣ing the terrour of the Lard; I seek to perswade you by those Arguments; never 〈8 letters〉 I take no pleasure to tell you thereof. But now that I am speaking to you of the par∣doning grace of God, me-thinks I am in my Element: I could be glad to stay and dwell here, and to enlarge my self much to you, would time and strength permit me. But I can onely say thus much, We reade in Scripcute of those that have been grievously guilty of this sin, many and many a time, even of such as have Walked in it, yet when they have truly repented of it, the gracious blessed God hath freely forgiven them, and in Jesus Christ looked upon them as if they had never committed this sin. To encourage to Repen∣tance, and to break the heart of the vilest Drunkard, I'le Page 34 put you in minde of two Scriptures: the one is that,
1 Pet. 4.3.The time past of our life may sussice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquettings, &c. So that those Christians had afore their Conversion been wofully guilty of this iniquity, but upon true Repentance they were sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ, as the beginning of the Epistle sheweth; that is to say, the blood of Jesus Christ cleansed them from the guilt of this sin, and obtained pardoning mercy for them. Another Scripture to encourage you to Repentance, is that
1 Cor.6.11. where the Apostle having said to the Gorintbians, that no Drunkard (that is, so living and dying without Repentance) shall inherit the Kingdome of God, he addeth withall, Such were some of you, but you are washed, you are sanctified, you are Justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Know there∣fore, that although thou hast been guilty of this great sin, it may be an hundred and an hundred times, yet thou mayest be justified from it in the Name of the Lord Jesus, if indeed thou dost repent of it. But then your Repentance must be thus qualified!
1. You must mourn before the Lord, that ever you dishonour∣ed but Name by this Transgression. Let me speak to you in the words of the Prophet Joel,
Joel 1.5.Awake ye Drunkards, and weep and howl, all ye drinkers of wine. O thou Drunkard, now let tears be thy drink; go home, and appear before the Lord in secret, and there lament with a sorrowful heart, that ever thou hast thus sinned against him. Do as David did, who faith,
Psa. 38.18.I will declare mine iniquity, I will be sorry for my sin. What sin was that? truly, his sin in making Uriah drunk. So do thou be sorry that ever thou hast made thy self drunk.
2. You must also forsake this sin: that's implied in true Repentance. And I speak this the rather, because I know there have been some Drunkards that would bewa• their sin with many tears, and yet it may be, go and be drunk again the next week: that's no true Repentance. Thy heart must be so broken for this sin, as to be broken from it, otherwise though a man should confess his sin till his tongue be worn to the stumps, though he should pray against it till Heaven
and Earth shake, though he should weep Seas of Tears for it, yet if he will not forsake it, all his Confessions, Prayers, and Tears shall never save him. Yea, he must forsake it not onely as to his Conversation, or outwardly, but inwardly, so as to have no affection, or secret love, and liking to this Abomination. O therefore say as once Ephraim did, What have I to do any more with Idols? So say thou, What have I to do any more with my wicked Companions in sin? What have I to do any more with Drunkenness, or any other ini∣quity that I have in times past loved and lived in? And then thou mayest hope to finde pardoning mercy from the Lord; according to that gracious word,
Prov. 28.13.Whoso con∣fesseth, and forsaketh, shall have mercy. Now the Lord of Heaven grant it, to many of your Souls, who are sadly con∣cerned in the word that hath been spoken to you in his Name.