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mate the crime, of the action of a drunken man, compared with the same action in a sober man. The rule of reason and justice appears to be this: whatever proportion the chance of falling into such and such crimes bears to the absolute certainty, the same proportion does the crime of any evil action in a drunken man bear to the guilt of the same action in a sober man; so that if there be, as there always is, unjustifiable licentiousness, if not of action, at least of language and thought, to which all persons inflamed with liquor are subject; or if there be certain particular feelings and extravagancies to which the infirmity of particular constitutions when disordered by intemperance are sure to draw men into, then, and to both these, the guilt may be deemed equal to the deeds, if committed with all our senses and faculties about us: for it makes little or no dif ference whether we deliberately commit a crime, or deliberately put ourselves into a condition in which we know beforehand that we shall be tempted to commit it. Of crimes and outrages which are the effects of drunkenness, but are unusual or unthought of, the judgement is not quite the same; they cannot be accounted of, as if proceeding from deliberate wickedness, because they are the effects of a condition which admits of no deliberation, nor can it be said here, as before, that the drunken man foresaw, or might have foreseen these effects, when he suffered himself to be brought into such a condition; for they are by the supposition unusual, and therefore not foreseen: but
though unusual, they are not impossible, nor perhaps, all things considered, very improbable. Therefore there is a guilt, and a very great one, in incurring the hazard, or even the possibility of perpetrating those crimes and outrages from which we had power or had reason to withhold us; and from which we are safe, or at least distant, so long as we neither abused that power nor that reason. I here put the supposition more in favour of intemperance than it will properly bear: for I supposed that the disorder occasioned by it deprives a man of the use of his understanding, and leaves him, at the time of committing the crime, in the absolute condition of an insane person; so that the very guilt he was capable of, consisted in bringing himself into that condition. Now this is seldom the case in reality: in intoxication, some self-command, some conscientious sense of right and wrong remains with men; and for so much as does remain they are accountable, as much then, as ever. Another circumstance should likewise always be noticed, which is a great aggravation of drunkenness : When a man finds by experience the mischievous, the pernicious consequences which intemperance pro duces to himself, or through him to others, and does not take warning by them, but returns to his drun. kenness at every opportunity, and whenever the temptation comes round, it will be difficult to distinguish such a man's misconduct from the same misconduct in a sober person; at least, there is a wide difference between this case, and his who has been
casually betrayed into intemperance, and, by intemperance, into improper behaviour, and takes little caution from the experience of his own infirmity, to keep out of the way of a second temptation, or gains little resolution to withstand it.
One considerable part of the mischiefs and evil tendency of intemperance, is the example, especially in people whose example is likely to influence others; as of masters of families, persons in public stations, those who are, or ought to be, the instructors of others.
Drunkenness effectually puts an end to all authority; for it so degrades and debases the drunkard, as not only to bring him upon a level with the lowest of those over whom his authority should be preserved, but much beneath them: it is ridiculous in a drunkard to talk to others of decency, order, good manners, quietness, peaceableness, industry, activity, usefulness, who himself, in this one vice, exhibits a public example of the violation of all these duties. And this matter of example, in this, as well as in a thousand other instances, may lead us to enlarge our views of the consequences of our actions, and see a guilt in them which we may not discern in them considered simply in themselves. In the case before us, expense, for instance, may not be a consideration to all; but their example, or their company, may draw in others to make it a consideration very serious. In like manner, the shame, and distress, and terror, and uneasiness which intemperance is sure to
occasion to a person's own family, is an important aggravation of the offence. This is not applicable to those who have no family; but then the infection of their example, or the exercise of their vice, propagates itself to those who have families, and so makes them indirectly the authors of misery which, very possibly, they never intended or suspected.
I have thus enumerated the effects of drunkenness, without exaggeration; for I do not wish to indulge in invective or excite indignation against it, further than the solid mischief it produces will justify. Universally we ought to take into the account, not merely the mischief it produces at the very moment of committing the crime, but altogether, sooner or later, directly or indirectly; to ourselves, in our fortunes, health, constitutions, understandings; to our families, in their subsistence, expectations, morals, peace, and satisfaction; to the neighbourhood and the public at large, by the outrages, indecencies, and extravagancies into which it betrays us; or more generally, by the evil tendency of our example, which will operate afterwards where it is more pernicious than in ourselves, and for which we are in a very serious degree answerable.
It remains that we state the judgment of Scripture concerning this vice; which you will find to be agreeable to what the light of nature, rightly attended to, indicates of its evil tendency: "Be not drunk with wine," says Saint Paul, "wherein is excess." here find no rigid rules of abstinence or self-denial;
nothing of that unnecessary mortification or painful refusal of the satisfactions of life, which all religions that are founded on enthusiasm or imposture have been wont to enjoin. Saint Paul does not forbid wine; but being drunken with wine, wherein is excess. The reasonableness of this precept entitles it to respect.
In the sixth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, Saint Paul enumerates the offenders of whom he says, 66 they shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven." Amongst these we find drunkards: "neither thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall enter the kingdom of heaven." This declaration admits of no comment save one that we must understand the Apostle to speak of habitual offenders, persisting in their respective crimes, without repentance, change, or reformation. In other passages, Saint Paul is at some pains to teach his disciples how inconsistent this vice is with their particular characters and profession. It was a common way of preaching with him, to describe those who were indulged with the light of the Gospel as children of light, and of the day; in opposition to the rest of the world, who lived, as to religious matters, in night and darkness. In this view of their condition as Christians, he takes occasion to enforce upon them the duty of sobriety: "They that be drunken, are drunken in the night; but let us who are of the day be sober." I am not concerned to discuss the arguments. The passage shows Saint Paul's