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THE HISTORY OF INTEMPERANCE IN CONNEXION
EFFECTS ON RELIGIOUS WELFARE.
divine favour. On such occasions they in
dulged freely in wine, for which reason the WITH THE PROPESSION OP RELIGION, AND its feast was called Boivas, because they imagined
they were obliged at those times to be drunk in honour of the gods! ότι διά τους θεούς
οινούσθαι δεν υπελάμβανον. “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, that
The most important of these festivals was drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments : but they are not grieved for the one held at the conclusion of the vintage, the affliction of Joseph."--Amos vi. 1, 6. or gathering in of the grapes. At this time
“But they also have erred through wine, and they were accustomed to drink with freedom, through strong drink are out of the way; the priest esteeming it as an honourable offering of the and the prophet have erred through strong drink, first fruits to the gods. Seleucus, in Aristotle, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they tells us that the words barío and yébue were stumble in judgment.”-ISAIAH xxviii. 7. similarly derived. Τόν τε οίνον επί πλείον και
την άλλην ηδυπάθειαν θεών ένεκα προσφέρεσθαι, ,
διό και θρίνας και θαλίας και μέθας ώνομασIntroductory Remarks.-I. Intemperance in con- envai; i.e. banquets were called Ooivai, Baliai,
nexion with the religious ceremonies of the and pédai, from Oeds, or God; because it was the Jewish Church.-UI. Intemperance as associ- usual at those times to consume great quanated with the profession of Christianity: -1. The tities of wine and other provisions, in honour language of the New Testament.--2. Intemper- of the gods.* ance in some of the early centuries.-3. The Anglo-Saxon, French and English.-4. Intemper
These profane notions were but too much ance at church, and of the feasts in various in unison with the inclinations of the people, countries in connexion with the Roman Catholic among whom they obtained. The frugality Church.—5. Drunkenness at festivals more or less with which their more ancient festivals had associated with the Reformed Church.-IV. The use of intoxicating liquors an obstacle to Mis- been conducted, gradually disappeared. As sionary exertion.-V. The use of inebriating the heathens increased the number of their 1. In its effects on Christian churches, and in gods, so did they extend the number of particular reference to ministerial usefulness.— their festivals, until, in progress of time, 2. In its effects, in various other ways, in pre- these originally solemn occasions were reventing the progress of religion.
garded as privileged opportunities of sensual Every thing which has connexion with indulgence. Such festivals were more or the sanctity of religion possesses peculiar Strabo informs us, that the practice was
less in use among all the heathen nations. importance. Hence arises the necessity of separating from its profession all practices common both to Greeks and barbarians." not sanctioned by Divine authority, but
Amongst the most numerous of these associated with its various ordinances by the festive occasions were those held in honour vitiated habits of degenerate times. No
of Bacchus, the God of Wine. At Athens, practice has been more intimately connected the very focus of heathen wisdom and with the ordinances of religion, in all ages
idolatrous abominations, the bacchanalian of the world, than the use of strong drink. orgies were celebrated with great splendour,
It is intended, in this stage of our inquiry, and in particular those which were denomito ascertain the origin and progress of this nated Dionysia. Some idea may be formed custom, and its consequences in relation to
of the estimation in which they were held, religious welfare. In the course of this in- when it is known that the archons, or chief vestigation, some singular elucidations will magistrates, patronized the proceedings, and transpire as to the drinking habits both of had a share in their management. During Heathen and Christian nations, between the processions, which were always held on which, a remarkable similarity will be found these occasions, various ceremonies were to exist.
performed, in the course of which the gro
tesque gestures of the drunkard were imitated. 1. Intemperance in connexion with the These proceedings invariably closed with the
Religious Ceremonies of the Heathens. most disgusting, drunken, and licentious The religious rites and ceremonies of the scenes of degrading debauchery. Plato in
that he witnessed the whole of the ancient Heathens contributed greatly to foster the vice of intemperance.
city of Athens drunk, during the Bacchic
festivals.t numerous festivals held by these nations,
The ancients erected statues in honour of formed a fruitful source of temptation to this sin. Athenæus informs us, that all their
Bacchus, who was frequently represented luxurious entertainments were occasioned
as an effeminate young man, in allusion to by devotion to the gods, Paoa ovu troglou of him; and at other times, as an old man,
the joyous feasts which were held in honour συναγωγή την αιτίαν εις θεόν ανέφερε.*
from the effect of vinous liquors in bringing These religious festivals were at first conducted with temperance and decorum, except
on premature old age. when they were desirous to make special of this god.
The Greeks had many festivals in honour
Those called Anthesteria acknowledgment for some signal mark of
* Potter's Grecian Antiquities, vol. i. p. 418. + Plato, lib. i de les
+ Athoniuus. lib. 5.
continued three days, during which time a feast of suitable offerings for idolatrous drunkenness greatly prevailed ; indeed, re- worship. The consequences were shortly wards were held out as inducements to afterwards seen. “The people sat down to intemperate drinking.
eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Similar festivals were held among the Moses, at a subsequent period, gives to the Romans, and ultimately became the most Children of Israel the Commandments, common source of emperance and im- which he had received on Mount Sinai, he morality. The impurities, however, connected strongly exhorts them to obedience to those with these proceedings, and the consequent laws, and, at the same time, faithfully warns demoralization of the people, were so obvious them against sensual temptations, when they in their character, and so debasing in their should become possessed of the country effects, that the senate was constrained to which the Lord had promised them. After interfere, and to put a stop to their continu- enumerating the advantages they would
These festivals were celebrated by thereby obtain in securing the possession of not less than seven thousand souls of both lands and cities, houses and wells, vineyards sexes, promiscuously arranged, and were in- and olive-yards, for which they had not variably held in the darkness of the night. laboured, Moses exhorts them when they
Among other licentious festivals of the bad eaten and were full, then to beware lest Ancients, were those of Cotytro, the goddess they forgat the Lord.f The wise legislator of debauchery, and from thence called Coty- had previously witnessed the awful effects tria. They were principally celebrated by the of sensuality in turning the heart from God. Athenians, Thracians, and Corinthians. In- The consequences of intercourse with surtemperance, with gross debauchery, always rounding nations, whose practices were characterized the solemnities.
highly sensual and ensnaring, formed anSimilar practices existed at the festivals other source of anxious alarm. I As if held in honour of Comus, the god of feasting these allusions and exhortations, however, and revelry. This deity was usually repre- were not sufficiently powerful, Moses soon sented as a young man, in a state of intoxi- afterwards repeats his warning, “ Lest when cation, and crowned with the drunkard's thou hast eaten and art full, then thine garland.
heart be lifted up, and thou forget the The Persians also had festivals of a similar Lord.”ll Shortly after this event, he be. description. One of the principal of these wails the stubbornness of the people, and was held in honour of Anaitis, an Armenian expresses his prophetical fears of the consegoddess. Both sexes assisted at this cere- quences of indulgence. * For when they mony, and inebriated themselves to such a have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen degree, that the whole was concluded by a fat, then will they turn unto other gods and scene of the greatest lasciviousness and in- serve them, and provoke me, and break my temperance.* Orgies, worthy of the deities covenant.”'S These warnings were verified to whose worship they were consecrated, at an early period ; for in the succeeding and for whose honour they were instituted. chapter, Moses alludes to the departure of
The evil of intemperance, as it existed the luxurious Israelites from the worship of among the heathens, presents many deplo- the true God. “But Jeshurun (Israel) rable features, but how much more is it to be waxed fat and kicked; then he forsook God lamented when found to prevail among a which made him, and lightly esteemed the people possessed of superior light and in- Rock of his Salvation.”'T struction. The Church of the true God, In succeeding centuries, sensual indulin all ages, will be found to have suffered gence was found to be highly inimical to severely from the influence of strong drink. the religious welfare of the Jews. The A view of its records but too evidently prophets of the Most High allude to this cirdemonstrates the truth of this statement. cumstance in terms of strong disapprobation.
Even the Holy Sanctuary did not escape its II. Intemperance in connexion with the contaminating influence. "And they drink the Jewish Church.
wine of the condemned in the house of their
Few examples more forcibly deThe Jews, at various times, manifested God."** considerable religious declension, and fol- pict the intemperance of those times, and lowed idolatrous practices.
the evil effects of strong drink on the
The reasons for this dereliction were various ; but among God, than the fact that the Nazarites were
conduct of some of the chosen people of other causes, intemperate indulgence occupies a most prominent place. The circum- tempted to indulge in wine by the posterity
of Israel. The Nazarites were a people stances which occurred at the time when Moses was on the Mount, in conference with specially devoted to the Lord, and scrupulous the Almighty, strikingly exhibit the associa- in abstaining from the use of wine. tion of idolatry with intemperance. When
I raised up your sons (that is of Israel) for
for Moses delayed his return, the Israelites prophets, and of your young men made for themselves false gods, and prepared * Exodus xxxii, 6. + Deut. vi. 11, 12.
† Deut. xiv. and following chap.
$leem, xxxi. 20. Lempriere Bibliotheca Classica.
Tiem, xxxii. 15.
lein, viii. 10-13.
** Amos. ii. 8.
Nazarites. Is it not even thus, o ye their heart was exalted, therefore hare they children of Israel, saith the Lord. But ye forgotten me. gave the Nazarites wine to drink, and These examples of irreligion and intem. commanded the prophets, saying prophesy perance, present fearful warnings to future
generations against sensual indulgence. The The same inspired writer subsequently hearts of men are naturally obstinate and characterizes, in decisive language, some of disobedient; but when under the influence the distinguishing traits of intemperance ; of foreign excitement, they become doubly and, in particular, the selfish feelings and careless as to future consequences. The disregard of religion which the habit in- children of Israel indulged freely in sensual duces. He pronounces woe against them pleasures, and so were estranged from God that are at ease in Zion,"-" that put Their illustrious king Agur, evidently felt, away the evil day and cause the seat of and strongly inculcated the importance of violence to come near; that drink wine in exercising proper control over the appetites, bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief when he esclaimed, “ Feed me with food nintments : but are not grieved for the convenient for me; lest I be full and deny affliction of Joseph.”'t
thee, and say, Who is the Lord ?" The Prophet Hosea adverts to the effects The preceding observations lead us to conof luxury in turning the heart from God. clude, that at certain periods, intemperance “ The children of Israel look to other gods, prevailed to a greater or less extent among and love flagons of wine.” Idolatry is con- the Jews. There is no evidence, however, stantly associated with satiety and intem- to prove, that at any period this degrading perance. Ephraim is joined to idols; let vice even approached to the same extent to him alone. Their drink is sour, they have which it has been carried in the present day. committed whoredom (towards God) con- On the contrary, the Jews, considered as a tinually.”'
nation, were in general temperate in their The Prophet Isaiah frequently bewails the habits. Drunkenness was regarded with luxury and intemperance of the times in great abhorrence, and in the earlier periods which he lived, and their effects on religious of their commonwealth, severe laws were prosperity. In reference to the feasts of enacted against it.
It was this feeling the intemperate, he expressly declares, that which caused the prophets to utter such they “regard not the word of the Lord, strong and pointed denunciations against neither consider the operation of his hands." it, though the language of these men of God • Therefore,'
,” he immediately adds, “my appears, in many instances, to be directed, people are gone into captivity, because they in terms the most forcible, against the vice have no knowledge; and hell bath enlarged itself, as practised amongst a few, and not herself.”'ll
in relation to a custom to which the people At a later period intemperance prevailed were generally addicted. If the disapproto an alarming extent among the Jews; and bation of the Almighty was so strongly in particular among the inhabitants of excited at the partial intemperance of those Ephraim. “Woe to the crown of pride, to times, what would be the language of the the drunkards of Ephraim.” This fearful prophets had they lived to witness the almost vice extended even to the expounders of the general habits of drunkenness which prevail word of God. The priests and prophets, among professing “Christians” in the against whose indulgence in strong drink present day? there were strict laws, participated in the general declension of the times. “ The III. Intemperance as associated with the priest and prophet have erred through strong profession of Christianity, and in condrink; they err in vision, they stumble in nexion with Christian Churches. judgment."'T
1. In the New Testament, denunciations Under these degrading circumstances, well and warnings against intemperance are fremight the prophet Isaiah exclaim, “Whom quent and pointed. These, however, were shall he teach knowledge, and whom shall directed more against the converted heathens he make to understand doctrine?” The than the Jews, who at that period were, in infatuated people had “made a covenant general, more temperate in their habits than with death,” and “with hell were in agree- they had been in previous ages. This eviment,” and had flattered themselves that dently appears from the absence of those their conduct would escape the judgment of reproofs for intemperance by the Saviour, a just God.**
which, doubtless, under other circumstances, Hosea, in reference to the wickedness of he would have given. The Saviour's labours the Ephraimites, feelingly exclaims, “ I did
were altogether confined to that people ; and know thee in the wilderness, in the land of in one instance only did he allude to the great drought. According to their pasture, effects of intemperance ; and that rather as so were they filled, they were filled, and a warning against a possible contingency The heathens were much addicted to in- which resulted from such practices. In the temperance at the time when the Gospel was writings of Constantine, St. Gregory Naziintroduced to their notice. It appears anzen, St. Chrysostom, and others, these highly probable, that those who were con- anti-Christian irregularities are forcibly exverted by its influence were subject to frequent hibited, and deeply deplored. temptations to recur to their former dissolute St. Augustin, in particular, adverts to the practices. Hence the anxiety manifested by frequency of intemperance at these feasts, the apostle Paul in his epistles to the con- and the indifference with which it was viewverted Gentiles. The heathens not unfre-ed by all parties. “ Drunken debauches,' quently invited them to be present at their says he, " pass as permitted amongst us ; so festivals, and to partake of their sacrifices, that people turn them into solemn feasts, to which have already been shown to have been honour the memory of the martyrs; and most intemperate in their character. St. that not only on those days which are parPaul appears to allude to this practice in his ticularly consecrated to them, (which would epistle to the Corinthians. “ Ye cannot be a deplorable abuse to those who look at drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of these things with other eyes than those of devils,”* thereby intimating that participa- the flesh,) but on every day of the year.' tion in the idolatrous festivities of their The same evidence is given in writings atheathen countrymen, would totally disqualify tributed to St. Cyprian. “ Drunkenness," them for faithful communion at the table he remarks, “is so common with us in of the Holy Eucharist.
even amongst his own disciples, than as a * Amos, ii. 11, 12. + Idem, vi. 3-6. I Hosea, iv. 17, 18. || Isaiah, v. 11-14, &c.
vice generally prevailing in the nation. S Isaiah, xxviii. 1. | Idem, xxiii. 1. ** Isaiah, xxviii. 9-15.
* Hosea xiii. 5, 6. + Prov. xxx. 8, 9.
Africa, that it scarce passes for a crime. 2. This injudicious intercourse formed, at a And do we not see Christians forcing one later period, a subject of deep regret to all another to get drunk to celebrate the memory sincere followers of a crucified and self- of the martyrs ? ”f denying Master; and hence the canons of. At the African Synod (A.D. 418, 9.) the the primitive churches, contain frequent and lascivious feasts of the Gentiles were prostrong allusions to the dangerous tampering hibited, and in particular such as were held with principle which it necessarily in on the nativities of the Martyrs, and in volved. These canons exhibit unimpeachable sacred places; and heathens were commanded evidence of backslidings on the part of those not to force Christians to join with them, as who made a profession of Christianity at it would be deemed a persecution under that early period. Among these enactments Christian emperors. are not unfrequently found laws prohibiting The canons of the Synod of Trullus prenot only the laity, but the clergy also, regular sent equally strong evidence of the existence or irregular, and priesthood of all ranks, from of intemperance in connexion with the Greek meeting together for the purpose of intem-church in the seventh century. The Bacperate indulgence. A Laodicean canon, chanalia, for example, were interdicted, to for example, (A.D. 367,) states that members the clergy upon pain of deposition, to the of the priesthood and clergy, or even laity, laity upon pain of excommunication. I ought not to unite together for the purpose In the records of Church history, at a of holding feasts for eating and drinking. more recent period, is found ample testimony,
One of the strongest inducements to in- of the corruption produced by the influence temperance among the Christians of early of luxury and intemperance. The dark times, was the practice of holding feasts in ages in particular of the Roman Catholic commemoration of important events on Church exhibit melancholy illustrations of Christmas, Shrovetide, Easter, and other the subject under consideration. In the days of like interest. In course of time, sixth century the Emperor Justinian resimilar festivities were instituted in honour- quired monks not to enter houses appropriable remembrance of persons distinguished ated to the sale of intoxicating liquors. A for piety and worth. These celebrations monk found in a tavern was to be seized and appear to have originated in similar practices brought before a magistrate, who upon conof the heathens, and, as will afterwards be viction was to give him due chastisement found, were attended with equally lamentable and signify the offence to the abbot of his and degrading results. Like those of the monastery, that he might forthwith be exidolatrous ancients, they were at first con- pelled. || ducted with frugality, decency, and temper- 3. The hospitality of the monks materially ance, but gradually degenerated into scenes countenanced and fostered intemperance in of intoxication, riot, and debauchery. The this country. The Anglo-Saxons, after same love of luxurious living which prompted their conversion to Christianity, were rethe heathens to multiply their profane feasts, markable for their hospitable conduct. probably influenced the Christians to add to the number of their sacred festivals, until at
* Epistle xxii. + Pamel. p. 416.
I Canon, 62, Trullans, p. 279. last they became exceedingly numerous. The
|| Si visus fuerit aliquis reverendissimorum moworks of the Fathers abound in denunciations nachorum in aliquà Tabernarum conversari; hunc against those instances of intemperance; repentè dari locorum defensoribus,--et castigari and out point, in strong language, the evils expellat monasterio, qui talia deliquit; utpote in Spelman relates, that the canons of the period each member of the church was church commanded the Anglo-Saxon priests limited to a certain quantity of wine. The not only to practice hospitality themselves, Council of 817, for example, allowed five but to urge the necessity, and commend the pounds by weight of wine, daily, to each practice of it frequently to the people.* monk.
confusionem vitæ Angelicam hanc conversationem mutantem. Justin.--Corpus Juris Civilio.
* 1 Cor. x. 21.
The Kings of England, at this period, de- William of Malmsbury relates that Ed. voted immense sums of money, for the pur- mund the First, was murdered at a feast held pose of celebrating with splendour the various in honour of St. Augustin, the English church festivals, which were held at Christ- Apostle. This event occurred in Puckle mas, Easter, and Whitsuntide. Entertain. Church, Gloucestershire, A.D. 946. The ment was provided at the monasteries for King with all his nobles and courtiers were travellers of all descriptions. This hospi- so intoxicated with the liquor they had tality frequently led to scenes of riot and drunk, as to be unable to offer the least reexcess.t
sistance to the daring regicide.* Reference has already been made to the The same celebrated historian, however, excessive intemperance of the Danes and candidly admits, that these excesses among Anglo-Saxons. This evil practice is extended the clergy, although too general, were not to their religious festivals, on which occasion universal, as he himself could testify from they are described as drinking large draughts personal observation, and expresses a hope of liquor to the honour of Christ, the Virgin that the innocent would not be involved in Mary, the Apostles, and other Saints. I the same disgrace with the guilty.t
A Synod of the clergy, held about the It was about this period in English history middle of the eighth century, commanded that the laws which prohibited “ drinking at that “the sin of drunkenness be avoided, pins,” were again enforced. These laws especially in the clergy.” Boniface, Arch- were in particular directed against the rural bishop of Mentz, in a letter, which he clergy. wrote to Cuthbert, Archbishop of Canter- 4. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, bury, observes, that the English Bishops so remarkable examples of feasting were exfar from punishing drunkenness, were guilty hibited at the installation of several of the of the same. Moreover, he adds—“ Drun- dignitaries of the church. On these festive kenness is a special evil of our nation," occasions, immense quantities of malt liquor (that is of the Saxon, of which country, and wine were consumed, and it will excite Boniface was a native); and specifies, that little surprise, to find that consequences “ neither Franks, nor Gauls, nor Lombards, ensued not creditable either to the cause of nor Romans, nor Greeks, were guilty religion, or to those who possessed so imthereof."'ll
portant an influence over its interests. Charlemagne, or his son Lewis, were the The ceremonies observed at the Feast of authors of certain laws against drunkenness the Ass,” in certain parts of France, in among the clergy, who are warned, not only connexion with the Roman Catholic Church, to avoid excess themselves, but to take care, (A.D. 1322,) will remind the classical lest they become the cause of it in others, by reader of like scenes in the Bacchanalian pressing them to drink. In another place, festivals of the heathens. An account of the clergy are commanded, “by all means this feast is found in a manuscript missal, to abstain from drunkenness, as the in- originally composed by Pierre Corbeil, centive and cherisher of all vices.” Who- Archbishop of Sens, who died A.D. 1322. ever was convicted of this vice, was to It is said to be written in a beautiful manner, suffer according to his order. A priest or and its cover is ornamented with representadeacon was liable to forty days excommuni- tions of all the operations of the vintage cation, and a subdeacon to corporal punish- and other mythological subjects. At the ment. The clergy were interdicted from period when the manuscript was written, going into a tavern to eat or drink there at the ceremonies attendant on this feast, were all, unless necessity obliged them to do so in the highest degree bacchanalian and im. as travellers on the road. The council of pious. The priests entered the choir beTours, 1282, made a similar enactment. smeared with lees of wine, dancing, and
Legrand d'Aussy states that at first the singing profane songs, while the inferior monks drank wine in goblets, and that it officers of the church, polluted the altar by was a libation or religious ceremony. They playing cards upon it, and eating in the were accustomed, likewise, to drink to the most disgusting manner. During the celedead, which practice however was inter- bration of mass, old shoes were burned upon dicted as idolatrous. At a subsequent the censer, instead of incense, and the dea
cons and their companions were afterwards * Spelman, Concil, tom. i.
carried through the streets, in carts, prac. Anglia Sacra, tom ii. 1 Bartholin. lib. ii. c. 12.
tising various indecencies. " For several || Spelman, concil, p. 241.
days, the most disgusting and extravagant Baluzius, tom. i. col. 1071.
actions were continued, and drunkenness Cupit. Episcop. A.D. 801, cap. 19. Ut nullus Presbyterorum edendi aut bibendi causå ingrediatur in Tabernas.---Baluz i, 360. Nisi Peregrinationis * W. Malmsbury, lib ii. c. 7. pecessitate compulsi. Goldastus, tom. iii.
+ Idem, b. iii.