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more prone to exceed, than to come short, and abundance sin in excess, for one that sinneth by defect: and is sin so small a matter with you, that you will lay smares before men, and then say, They may take heed? So men may choose whether they will go into a whore-house, and yet the Pope doth scarce deal homestly to license them at Rome: much less is it well to prepare them, and invite men to them. Will you excuse the devil for tempting Eve with the forbidden fruit, because she might choose whether she would meddle with it? What doth that on your table, which is purposely cooked to the tempting of the appetite, and is fitted to draw men to gulosity and excess, and is no way needful? “Woe to him that layeth a stumblingblock before the blind.” “Let no man put a stumblingblock in his brother's way.” It is the wicked's curse, “ Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock.” And it was Balaam's sin, that he taught Balaak to tempt Israel, or lay a stumblingblock before them. Direct. 1x. ‘Resolve to bestow the cost of such superfluities upon the poor, or some other charitable use; that so it become not a sacrifice to the belly.” Let the greatest and needfullest uses be first served: it is no time for you to be glutting your appetites, and wallowing in excess, when any (yea, so many) about you, do want even clothes and bread. If you do thus lay out all upon the poor, which you spare from feeding your own and other men's excess, then none can say that your sparing is through covetous niggardize; and so that reproach is taken off. The price of one feast, will buy bread for a great many poor people. It is small thanks to you to give to the poor some leavings, when your bellies are first glutted with as much as the appetite desired: this costeth you nothing: a swine will leave that to another which he cannot eat. But if you will a little pinch your flesh, or deny yourselves, and live more sparingly and thriftily, that you may have the more to give to the poor, this is commendable indeed. Direct. x. “Do not over persuade any to eat when there is no need, but rather help one another against running into excess: by seasonable discourses of the sinfulness of gluttony, and of the excellency of abstinence, and by friendly watchings over and warning one another. Satan and the flesh and its unavoidable baits, are temptation enough: we need not by unhappy kindness to add more. Direct. xi. “When you feel your appetites eager, against reason and conscience, check them and resolve that they shall not be pleased.’ Unresolvedness keepeth up the temptation; if you would but resolve once, you would be quiet: but when the devil findeth you yielding, or wavering, or unresolved, he will never give you rest: “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee, and put a knife to thy throat if thou be a man given to appetite: be not desirous of his dainties, for they are deceitful meat". The words translated, “if thou be a man given to appetite” (agreeable to the Septuagint and the Arabic) are translated by Montanus, and in the vulgar Latin, and the Chaldee Paraphrase, “if thou have the power of thy own soul, or be master of thy soul, Compos animae, shew that thou art master of thyself by abstinence. Instead of “Put a knife to thy throat,’ that is, threaten thyself into abstinence, the Syriac and divers Expositors translate it, “Thou dost, or lest thou dost put a knife to thy throat,’ that is, ‘Thou art as bad as cutting thy throat, or destroying thyself, when thou art gluttonously feeding thyself.’ Keep up resolution and the power of reason. Direct. x11. “Remember what thy body is, and what it will shortly be, and how loathsome and vile it will be in the dust. And then think how far such a body should be pampered and pleased; and at what rates.’ Pay not too dear for a feast for worms: look into the grave, and see what is the end of all your pleasant meats and drinks; of all your curious, costly fare. You may see there the skulls cast up, and the ugly hole of that mouth which devoured so many delicious morsels: but there is none of the pleasure of it now left. O wonderful folly! that men can so easily, so eagerly, so obstinately, waste their estates, and neglect their souls, and displease their God, and in effect even sell their hopes of heaven, for so small and sordid a delight, as the pleasing of such a piece of flesh, that must shortly have so vile an end Was it worth so much care, and toil, and cost, and the cast
x Prov. xxiii. 1–3. * Qui Christum desiderat, et illo pane vescitur non curat magnopere quam de pretiosis cibis stercus conficiat. Hieron. Epist. ad Paul.
ing away of your salvation, to pamper that body a little while that must shortly be such a loathsome carcase ** Methinks one sight of a skull or a grave, should make you think gluttony and luxury madness. “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to heart".” David saith of the wicked, “Let me not eat of their dainties;” but, “let the righteous smite me and reprove me".” So dangerous a thing is feasting even among friends, where of itself it is lawful, that Job thought it a season for his fears and sacrifice. “And his sons went and feasted in their houses every one his day, and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. But Job sacrificed for them, saying, “It may be my sons have sinned, and cursed” (that is, thought provokingly, unreverently, unholily or contemptuously of) “God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually “.” A funeral is a safer place for you than a feast. Direct. x 111. ‘Go into the houses of the poor sometimes, and see what provision they live upon, and what time they spend at meat: and then bethink you, whether their diet or yours, do tend more to the mortification of fleshly lusts;’ and whether theirs will not be as sweet as yours at the last? And whether mere riches, should make so great a difference in eating and drinking, between them and you? I know that where they want what is necessary to their health, it is lawful for you to exceed them, and be thankful: but not so as to forget their wants, nor so as to turn your plenty to excess. The very sight now and then of a poor man's diet and manner of life would do you good: seeing affecteth more than hearsay. Direct. xiv. Look upon the ancient Christians, the patterns of abstinence, and think whether their lives were like to yours.” They were much in fastings and abstinence; and strangers to gluttony and excess: they were prone to excess of abstinence, rather than excess of meat, that abundance of them lived in wildernesses or cells, upon roots, or upon bread and water: (from the imitation of whom, in a formal, * Nihil tam aeque tibi proderit ad temperantiam, quam frequens cogitatio brevis aevi, et incerti: quicquid facis respice morten. Senec. * Eccles. vii. 2. * Psal. cxli. 4, 5. * Job i. 4, 5,
hypocritical manner, came the swarms of friars that are now in the world:) and will you commend their holiness and abstinence, and yet be so far from any serious imitation of them, that you will in gluttony and excess, oppose yourselves directly against them? I have now detected the odiousness of this sin, and told you if you are willing how you may best avoid it: if all this will not serve, but there be “any profane person among you like Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright”,” who for the pleasing of his throat will sell his soul, let him know that God hath another kind of cure for such: he may cast thee into poverty, where thou shalt be a glutton only in desire, but not have to satisfy thy desire : he may shortly cast thee into those diseases, which shall make thee loathe thy pleasant fare, and wish thou hadst the poor man's fare and appetite; and make thee say of all the baits of thy sensuality, “I have no pleasure in them “.” The case will be altered with thee when all thy wealth, and friends, and greatness cannot keep thy pampered carcase from corruption, nor procure thy soul a comfort equal to a drop of water to cool thy tongue, tormented in the flames of God's displeasure: then all the comfort thou canst procure from God or conscience will be but this sad memento, “Remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is counsorted, and thou art tormented'.” “Go to now ye rich men; weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you— Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter: ye have condemned and killed the just, &c.”.” Yet after all this, I shall remember you that you run not into the contrary extreme: place not more religion in extermal abstinence and fastings than you ought: know your own condition, and how far either fasting or eating is really a help or a hindrance to you in those greater things which are their ends, and so far use them". A decaying body must be carefully supported: an unruly body must be carefully subdued: the same medicines serve not for contrary tempers "Heb. xii. 16. Luke vi. 25. Wo to you that are full, for ye shall hunger.
* Eccles. xii. 1. | Luke xvi. 25. & James v. 1, 5. * Temperantiam exigit philosophia, non poenam. Senec.
and diseases: to think, that abstaining from flesh, and glutting yourselves with fish, and other meats is acceptable to God; or that mere abstaining so many hours in a week, and serving your appetite on the rest, is meritorious, or that abstinence from meat will prove you holy, without an abstinence from sin, all this is self-deluding error. Nor must you raise a great many of perplexing scruples about all that you eat or drink, to no edification, but merely to your vex-. ation: but in cheerful temperance preserve your health, and subdue concupiscence.
Tit. 2. Directions against Drunkenness and all Ercess of Drink.
I. The most that I have said against gluttony will serve against excess of drink also, therefore I need not repeat it. Drunkenness, in the largest sense, extendeth both to the affection and to the effect: and so he is a drunkard (that is, reputatively, in the sight of God) who would drink too much if he had it, and is not restrained by his will, but by necessity. o Drunkenness in the effect or act, is sometimes taken more largely, sometimes more strictly. Largely taken, it signifieth all drinking to excess to please the appetite : two things here make up the crime, 1. Love of the drink, or pleasing the appetite, which we call gulosity. 2. Excess in drinking; which excess may be in quantity or quality. Drunkenness strictly taken, signifieth drinking till reason have received some hurt; and of this there be many degrees. He that hath in the least degree disturbed his reason, and disabled or hindered it from its proper office, is drunken in that degree : and he that hath overturned it, or quite disabled it, is stark drunk, or drunken in a greater degree. All excess of drink is sinful gulosity or sensuality, of the same nature with gluttony, and falls under all my last reproofs and directions. And in some persons that can sit it out, and bear much drink without intoxication, the sin may be greater than in some others, that by a smaller quantity are drunk by a surprize, before they are aware : but yet, ‘ cateris paribus,” the overthrow of the understanding maketh the sin to be much the greater: for it hath all the evil