Billeder på siden


the Creator; some unthankfully vilifying, and others intemperately abusing the creature; to reform which lies only in the magistrate, yet blame and aspersions are cast upon those who suffer most (by such lewd and prodigal offenders) I mean the distressed company of brewers, whose sad condition groans for speedy relief; a company very needful, and also profitable to this city and suburbs, yet looked upon with an unkind aspect, but occasioned by those who may be well affected, but, being mistaken in their judgment, can give no true and solid reason for it. But, according to that of the poet,

Non amo te Volusi, nec possum dicere, quare;

Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te. THAT, a vineyard in England ? hath God been pleased to warm

this westeru climate with a temporal blessing of so excellent a nature for the sustaining, yea, for the reviving of the poor wearied labouring men; and not only so, but also for the chearing up of the drooping spirits, and the gladding of the hearts of the sorrowful and afflicted ? this is no small favour, which hath so long been bestowed upon us in this accidental part of the world: but it is a wonder, that, for so great a blessing, we should return so little thanks unto the Alo mighty; yea, many amongst us take not so much notice of it, as to account it for a blessing; and others, more ungrateful, little knowing what the want thereof would produce, seem to loath it in their thoughts, by their disdainful expressions and aspersions cast upon those creatures, without which this kingdom, especially near London, were in a sad condition, as I shall shew more plainly hereafter. And here is manifestly seen, not only the great bounty of God, but also his exceeding wonderful patience, that, notwithstanding such murmurings, he hath yet continued his blessing amongst us, though he sometimes threatened a dearth thereof. Thus God dealt with his Israel in the wilderness ; although some murmured at manna, yet he withdrew not that favour from them. But our disdainers will say, it is their zeal against drunkenness; I may as well say, O sinful zeal ! staggering and wavering no less through ignorance, than the drunkard through his intemperance. Because some do abuse the good creature of God by that detestable sin of drunkenness, shall others, therefore (such as would be thought to be religious) expose it to disdain ? nay, cry it down as a thing to be extinguished ? let such ingenuously confess which they hold to be the greater sin, to abuse or to extinguish any of God's creatures; the abuse, by punishinent duly inflicted, may be reformed; but to extinguish, or diminish the vertue of any of the creatures, is to deprive not only the offenders, but also the innocent, of the full fruition of those creatures which God hath appointed for the comfort of mankind.

After Noah had offended, and suffered reproach by his cursed son, did he, to manifest hiɛ detestation against that sin, give order to destroy that vineyard which he had so painfully planted ? had not this error been greater than the former? for he, that will serve God aright, must neither turn to the right hand nor to the left, but must walk before him in a straight path with an upright heart; to diminish or detract from the excellency of the creature, is to dishonour the creature. And it is a punishment from God upon a people, when a people degenerateth from its natural vertue, or is deprived of its proper excellency; as appeareth by the expre-sion of the prophet, bewailing the sad condition of Israel: saith he, 'your silver is become dross, your wine is mixed with water,' Isa. i. 22. And our Saviour, who came to repair our ruins, and to purchase for us a better paradise than that which Adam lost, made it his first miracle to make water wine, and that of the best, John ii. 10. whilst some of us would turn our native wine into water, I mean our strong beer into beer of the least nourishment and meanest condition. For brevity's sake, let these two witnesses suffice, although the Holy Scriptures are full of expressions tending to the commendations of those creatures most (I speak concerning temporal blessings) which are most cherishing to the vital spirits, and most preservative to the health and well-being of weak mankind. The same holy spirit, that pronounceth woes against gluttons and drunkards, commendeth Canaan, because it flowed with milk and honey, and corn, and wine, and oil, Deut. xi. 9, 14. And, although England hath not naturally the wine of the vine, yet it enjoyeth the plentiful fruition thereof; yea, in such an abundant manner, that many English prodigals, though vast estates have been left to divers of them, yet have complained more of the want of money than of the want of wine. But grant that these foreign plantations should fail us, or that we should be disappointed, yea, almost destitute of wine by some unexpected means proceeding from providence, either divine or human, or that those ships that ventured, or those commodities transported for wine, should be otherwise employed, or improved to the inriching of the kingdom, that wine thereby should be scarce amongst us, yet hath England whereat to rejoice within itself. For of hops and malt our native commodities (and therefore the more agreeable to the constitutions of our native inhabitants) may be made such strong beer, being well boiled and bopped, and kept its full time, as that it may serve instead of sack, if authority shall think fit, whereby they also may know experimentally the vertue of those creatures, at their full height; which beer being well brewed, of a low, pure amber colour, clear and sparkling, noblemen and the gentry may be pleased to have English sack in their wine cellars, and taverns also to sell to those who are not willing, or cannot conveniently lay it in their own houses ; which may be a means greatly to increase and improve the tillage of England, and also the profitable plantations of hop-grounds, thereby inabling the industrious farmers to pay their rents, and also to improve the revenues of the nobility and gentry; and su much the more may they be pleased to add some of those places, which, as yet, are receptacles for wild beasts (parks and forests) in which may be erected fair and profitable farms, and so become comfortable habitations, for laborious and painful husbandmen, with no small profit to the owners thereof, and also to the general good of the whole nation; should part of those commodities, transported for wine, be more advantageously disposed of, and our vineyard at home be better husbanded and man. ured, and at lesser rates such good strong beer as shall be most cherishing to poor labouring people, without which they cannot well subsist, their food being, for the most part, of such things as afford little on bad nourishment, nay, sometimes dangerous, and would infect them with many sicknesses and diseases, were they not preserved (as with an antidote) with good beer, whose vertues and effectual operations, by help of the hop, well boiled in it, are more powerful to expel poisonous infections than is yet publickly known, or taken notice of.

And should the Almighty, being provoked by our sins, afflict these parts with the infection of the plague, in what a deplorable condition would the poor of this city and suburbs be, if they should be deprived of the comfortable fruition of good strong beer and ale? For the provide ing whereof, the licensed well governed victualler is to be encouraged by suppressing of unlicensed ale houses, which are the only, receptacles of drunkards, and by severe punishing those lewd livers, who frequent those disordered houses, which only dare harbour them, because, having no licences, they are in no danger of the loss thereof, and being accustomed to their evil courses, both they that keep such houses, and they that frequent them, regardless of their reputation, by reason of continual impunity, grow impudent and fearless either of God or the magistrate, which causes scandalous aspersions to be cast on those which offend not: but the licensed victuallers, keeping good houses and good orders, paying taxes according to their degrees, are no less necessary for the poor neighbouring inhabitants, and also for strangers, as occasion may require, than any other retailing trade; for, as the brewer iş, the poor man's treasurer, so the victualler is the yeoman of the poor man's wine-cellar, providing and preparing, for present use, such sound well ripened beer, as the poor cannot provide for themselves, neither without it can they go on in their labour, unless beef, pork, and ba.. con, and such hearty, meat could be afforded them at a cheaper rate; but, although such meats should prove more scarce and dear, yet; if it please God, in mercy, to send plenty of corn for bread and beer, we shall not hear the cry of the poor complaining of want, so long as, for a small matter, they can send for so much good bread and beer, as will suffice their whole families, which is not only a sustenance against hunger, but a preservative against sickness. But grains, if they be taken hot, and put into a vessel fit for that purpose, they are an excellent bath for itching limbs; also they are good food for the cattle of this city and suburbs, without wbich, hay, and other provisions would be at a far dearer rate than usually they are. Thus we see that, among the many temporal blessings, which the Lord hath bestowed upon us, this. is none of the meanest; the Lord in mercy grant us thanktul hearls, But, nescio quis teneros oculis mihi fascinat agnos : behold a foul monster called ingratitude, with two prodigious beads and scorching eyes, hath cast such looks upon this our vineyard, as is like Balak and Balaam they were conspiring together to bring a curse thereon, though of difa fering dispositions, yet both dangerously provoking the Almighty to displeasure. The one of these beads is of that sort of people, who out of a fervent zeal to the glory of God the creator, forget to honour him in a right taking notice of him, in his mercy and bounty towards us in bis creatures, but, with an austere countenance and supercilious eye, and speeches agreeable thereunto, slight and despise the creature, and those

[ocr errors]

that deal therein, because abused by intemperate persons: 'thus the creature is made the patient of evil, groaning as it were to be delivered therefrom, and yet is burdened with hard censure, a double 'injury. Zeal without discretion is like heat without moisture, every way destructive. Let such consider, 'if at any time afflictions befall them, would they be contented therefore to be evil thought of, because they fare so ill; nay, will not the calamity be the more heavy unto them, when they shall see that it lays them open to 'uncharitable censure? this is all one, as if we should afflict the innocent, because they are abused, and let the guilty escape and prosper according to that saying, Fælix ac prosperum scelus virtus vocatur. Optimi corruptio pessima, is a destiny equally fatal to every good creature, and, the better the creature is, it, being corrupted or abused, is 'so much the more dangerous and hurtful; the sweetest ointment, being putrefied, becomes most noisome; and man himself, by creation the most honoured of all the creatures, being degenerated into a condition tending to cruelty and violence, is more insatiable and unavoidably dangerous than any beast. Nay, religion itself, which is illa aurea catena that golden chain, whereby God and man, with reverence be it spoken, are so nearly linked together, John xvii. 11, 21. I say religion, which is that scala milliarium, by which we are directed the right way to ascend the heavenly throne of glory, 'is not free; quis talia fando temperet a lachrymis? from the foul abuses of audaciously wicked mankind, the profane person maketh a mock of it, the hypocrite maketh it his cloke for every occasion; but it will prove'a mourning one at the last, full of lamentations and woes. But this is not a subject now to treat of; wherefore I cease, but I shall not cease to mourn, although in silence curæ leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent. Igne quid utilius? what more needful than fire! yet many fair buildings have been destroyed thereby, shall it therefore be forbidden? then let not those, whose better fare maketh them so insensible of poor men's wants, deny them that good beer, which is so needful to their meaner food, because that sume abuse it. But alas! who'complaineth of that foul sin of gluttony? which, as a grave insatiable, hath swallowed up many of those good creatures, which are appointed for our nourishment and comfort; but, by the excessive abuse thereof, many of excellent parts have been much disabled both in body and mind from the free and happy use of those good gifts, which God bestowed upon them to be improved, and also employed to his glory; and that in their latter days must, which is that age of man which should be most adorned with wisdom by reason of long experience; yet let not any cry out against, or lay any blame upon Eastcheap, plentiful Cheapside, or Leadele Hall, or either Fish-street, or any other of those fair and plentious markets in about this city, wherein God's bounty is manifested and extended towards us in su large a manner; but rather, in a detestation of our own unworthiness, and unthankfulness, let us all cry out and say, nos, nos inquam, desumus Iapeti genus qui præsumus ; Prometheus the son of Japhet, for the heathen look no higher but somewhat darkly concerning Noah, who was their two-faced Janus (who saw the end of the old world, and the beginning of the new) having, as poets feigued, stolen fire from heaven, and brought it amongst the sons of men, it occasioned many new and dangerous diseases; even such is that zeal, which is not guided by true knowledge, and limited within the bounds of charity; it fills the mind with many strange and dangerous errors, corrupting the judgment, which are the discases of the soul; but doubtless those, that are truly religious, will qualify and cool (I do not mean, extinguish) the hot fervency of their zeal, with the sweet dew of discreet and pious charity, knowing, that God is a severe judge against those, who, passing by themselves, presume to censure others; which is one of those crying sins, which the land now mourns. The other head of that wrath-provoking monster, ingratitude [si ingratum direris omnia dixeris] is that wretched sort of people, who falling, an infirmity proper to the drunkard, into the error of the left hand, are so besotted with the love of the creature, as altogether to neglect their duty towards the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amén.

This brutish sin, drunkenness, may be called a sin of sins, the fruit. ful muther of a numerous brood, hateful even among the heathen; the Turks, amongst whom our English beer is of more esteem, than any other sort of drink, are severe punishers of drunkenness; in Cairo, a fair city in Turkey, it is punished with death; among the Indians, in some parts, it was so severely punished with death that they spared not the magistrate, but gave rewards to them, that slew him in the time of his being drunk; such was their cruel zeal, or heathenish severity, permitting no time for repentance, as being ignorant what belonged thereunto, nor to set their houses in order for the good of their posterity. But the indulgent lenity of our magistracy, to the endangering of many souls, hath so provoked the Almighty to take the matter into his own hands, that sometimes he hath also, for a warning to others, punished this sin by death; witness those untimely ends, some having died immediately in the sin, yea in the very house where they have so offended; others have broke their necks off their horses, and others, going a shipboard, have fallen between the ship and the boat, and so have been drowned, a manifest token of God's displeasure against that sin. Neither hath be spared the glutton, though a sin less scandalous, because not so easily discerned; yet no less detestable in the sight of the all-seing Almighty, witness that rod of many twigs, I mean the many diseases , and divers weaknesses, pains, and infirmities inflicted upon their bodies, and also the unfitness of their intellectual parts to any thing that is good: but now, in this time of reformation, better things are not only hoped for, but also expected, that the magistrate may be pleased, for the glory of God, whose substitute he is, and for the good of the commonwealth, whose welfare is committed to his care, to do his endeavour, according to the power and trust committed unto him, to punish, according to the laws of this kingdum, those that wilfully offend and continue in those gross sins, the foulness whereof is expressed, Deut. xxi. 20, 21. Prov. xxiii. 21. Rom. xiii. 13. Ephes. v. 18. 'Those which are drunken are drunken in the night, saith the apostle, i Thes. v.7. If such modesty was amongst those, who, as yet, were not converted to the faith, or perhaps, as yet, had no knowledge of the truth; how great a shame is it, for such a nation as this, where the sound of the gospel hath been so long beard, to harbour such offenders, yea, to

« ForrigeFortsæt »