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The sober man, by the strength of reason, may keep under and subdue every vice or folly to which he is most inclined; but wine makes every latent seed sprout up in the soul, and shew itself; it gives fury to the passions, and force to those objects which are apt to produce them. When a young fellow complained to an old philosopher, that his wife was not handsome, Put less water in your wine, (says the philosopher) and you will quickly make her so.' Wine heightens indifference into love, love into jealousy, and jealousy into madness. It often turns the good-natured man into an ideot, and the choleric into an assassin. It gives bitterness to resentment, it makes vanity insupportable, and displays every little spot of the soul in its utmost deformity.
Nor does this vice only betray the hidden faults of a man, and shew them in the most odious colours, but often occasions faults to which he is not naturally subject. There is more of turn than of truth in a saying of Seneca, " That drunkenness does not produce but discover faults.' Common experience teaches the contrary. Wine throws a man out of himself, and infuses qualities into the mind, which she is a stranger to in her sober moments. The person you converse with, after the third bottle, is not the same man who at first sat down at table with you. Upon this maxim is founded one of the prettiest sayings I ever met with, which is ascribed to Publius Syrus, Qui ebrium ludificat lædit absentem ; 'He who jests upon a man that is drunk, injures the absent.
Thus does drunkennesss act in direct contradiction to reason, whose business it is to clear the mind of every vice which is crept into it, and to guard it against all the approaches of any that endeavours to make its entrance. But besides these ill effects, which this vice produces in the person who is actually under its dominion, it has also a bad influence on the mind, even in its sober moments; as it insensibly weakens the understanding, im. pairs the memory, and makes those faults habitual, which are produced by frequent excesses.
I should now proceed to shew the ill effects which this vice has on the bodies and fortunes of men; but these I shall reserre for the subject of some future paper.
No. 571. FRIDAY, JULY 23.
Cælum quid quærimus ultra ?
As the work I have engaged in, will not only consist of papers of humour and learning, but of several essays moral and divine, I shall publish the following one, which is founded on a former Spectator, and sent me by a particular friend, not questioning but it will please such of my readers as think it no disparagement to their understandings, to give way sometimes to a serious thought.
“Sir, “In your paper of Friday the 9th instant, you had occasion to consider the ubiquity of the Godhead, and, at the same time, to shew, that as he is present to every thing, he cannot but be attentive to every thing, and privy to all the modes and parts of its existence : or in other words, that his Omniscience and Omnipresence are co-existent, and run together, through the whole infinitude of space. This consideration might furnish us with many incentives to devotion, and motives to morality; but as this subject has been handled by several excellent writers, I shall consider it in a light, wherein I have not seen it placed by others.
First, How disconsolate is the condition of an intellectual being, who is thus present with his Maker, but at the same time, receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his presence !
Secondly, How deplorable is the condition of an intellectual being, who feels no other effects from this his presence, but such as proceed from divine wrath and indignation !
“ Thirdly, How happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is sensible of his Maker's presence, from the secret effects of his mercy and loving-kindness.
“First, How disconsolate is the condition of an intellectual being, who is thus present with his Maker, but, at the same time, receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his presence! Every particle of matter is actuated by this Almighty Being which passes through it. The heavens and the earth, the stars and planets, move and gravitate by virtue of this great principle within them. All the dead parts of nature are invigorated by the presence of their Creator, and made capable of exerting their respective qualities. The several instincts, in the brute creation, do likewise operate and work towards the several ends which are agreeable to them, by this divine energy. Man only, who does not co-operate with this Holy Spirit, and is unattentive to his presence, receives none of those advantages from it, which are perfective of his nature, and necessary to his well-being. The Divinity is with him, and in him, and every where about him, but of no advantage to him. It is the same thing to a man without religion, as if there were no God in the world. It is, indeed, impossible for an infinite Being to remove himself from any of his creatures, but though he cannot withdraw his essence from us, which would argue an imperfection in him, he can withdraw from us all the joys and consolations of it. His presence, may, perhaps, be necessary to support us in our existence ; but he may leave this our existence to itself, with regard to its happiness or misery. For, in this sense, he may cast us away from his presence, and take his holy spirit from us. This single con sideration one would think sufficient to make us open our hearts to all those infusions of joy and gladness which are so near at hand, and ready to be poured in upon us; especially, when we consider, Secondly, the deplorable condition of an intellectual being, who feels no other effects from his Maker's presence, but such as proceed from divine wrath and indignation !
“We may assure ourselves, that the Great Author of Nature will not always be as one who is indifferent to any of his creatures. Those who will not feel him in his love, will be sure, at length, to feel him in his displeasure. And how dreadful is the condition of that creature, who is only sensible of the Being of his Creator by what he suffers from him! He is as essentially present in hell as in heaven, but the inbabitants of those accursed places behold him only in his wrath, and shrink within their flames, to conceal themselves from him. It is not in the power of imagination to conceive the fearful effects of Omnipotence incensed.
“But I shall only consider the wretchedness of an intellectual being, who, in this life, lies under the displeasure of him, that at all times, and in all places, is intimately united with him. He is able to disquiet the soul, and vex it in all its faculties. He can binder any of the greatest comforts of life from refreshing us, and give an edge to every one of its slightest calamities. Who then can bear the thought of being an outcast from his presence, that is, from the comforts of it, or of feeling it only in its terrors? How pathetic is that expostulation of Job, when, for the trial of his patience, he was made to look upon himself in this deplorable condition! Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am"become a burden to myself?' But, Thirdly, how happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is sensible of his Maker's presence, from the secret effects of his mercy and loving-kindness!
" The blessed in heaven behold him face to face, that is, are as sensible of his presence, as we are of the presence of any person whom we look upon with our eyes. There is, doubtless, a faculty in spirits, by which they apprehend one another, as our senses do material objects: and there is no question but our souls, when they are disembodied, or placed in glorified bodies, will, by this faculty, in whatever part of space they reside, be always sensible of the Divine Presence. We, who have this veil of flesh standing between us and the world of spirits, must be content to know that the Spirit of God is present with us, by the effects which he produceth in us. Our outward senses are too gross to apprehend him; we may, however, taste and see how gracious he is, by his influence upon our minds, by those virtuous thoughts which he awakens in us, by those secret comforts and refreshments which he conveys into our souls, and by those ravishing joys and inward satisfactions, which are perpetually springing up, and diffusing themselves among all the thoughts of good men. He is lodged in our very essence, and is as a soul within the soul, to irradiate its understanding, rectify its will, purify its passions, and enliven all the powers of man. How happy, therefore, is an intellectual being, who, by prayer and meditation, by virtue and good works, opens this communication between God and his own soul! Though the whole crcation frowns upon him, and all nature looks black about him, he has his light and support within him, that are able to cheer his mind, and bear him up in the midst of all those horrors which encompass him. He knows that his helper is at hand, and is always nearer to him than any thing else can be, which is capable of annoying or terrifying him. In the midst of calumny or con.