« PreviousContinue »
again, “ Watch and pray, that you may escape all these things.” I say, I compared this with the song I allude to,
6 Drink and drive care away,
Drink and be merry ;
To the Stygian ferry.” I compared this with that awful admonition of scripture how to pass the time, “not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness ; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
Will. I am afraid, then, master, you would not much approve of what I used to think a very pretty song, which begins with,
“ A plague on those musty old lubbers,
Who teach us to fast and to think.” Stock. Will, what would you think of any one who should sit down and write a book or a song to abuse the clergy ?
Will. Why, I should think he was a very wicked fellow, and I hope no one would look into such a book, or sing such a song.
Stock. And yet it must certainly be the clergy who are scoffed at in that verse, it being their professed business to teach us to think and be serious.
Will.. Ay, master, and now you have opened my eyes, I think I can make some of those comparisons myself between the spirit of the Bible and the spirit of these songs.
“ Bring the flask, the goblet bring,” won't stand very well in company with the threat of the prophet, “Woe unto them that rise up early, that they may mingle strong drink.”
Stock. Ay, Wiil; and these thoughtless people
who live up to their singing, seem to be the very people described in another place as glorying in their intemperance, and acting what their songs describe-" They look at the wine, and say it is red, it moveth itself aright in the cup.”
Will. I do hope I shall for the future not only become more careful what songs I sing myself, but also not to keep company with those who sing nothing else but what, in my sober judgment, I now see to be wrong.
Stock. As we shall have no body in the world to come, it is a pity not only to make our pleasures here consist entirely in the delights of animal life, but to make our very songs consist in extolling and exalting those delights which are unworthy of the man as well as of the Christian. If, through temptation or weakness, we fall into errors, let us not establish and confirm them by picking up all the songs and scraps of verses which excuse, justify, and commend sin. That “ time is short,” is a reason given by these song-mongers why we should give into greater indulgences. That “time is short,” is a reason given by the apostle why we should enjoy our dearest comforts as if we enjoyed them not.
Now, Will, I hope you will see the importance of so managing, that our diversions (for diversions of some kind we all require) may be as carefully chosen as our other employments. For to make them such as shall effectually drive out of our minds all that the Bible and the minister have been putting into them, seems to me as imprudent as it is unchristian. But this is not all. Such sentiments as these songs contain, set off by the prettiest music, heightened by liquor, and all the noise and spirit of what is called jovial company, all this, I say, not only puts every thing that is right out of the mind, but puts every thing that is wrong into it. Such songs, therefore, as tend to promote levity, thoughtlessness, loose imaginations, false views of life, forgetfulness of death, contempt of whatever is serious, and neglect of whatever is sober, whether they be love songs or drinking songs, will not, cannot be sung by any man or any woman who makes a serious profession of Christianity.*
* It is with regret I have lately observed, that the fashionable author and singer of songs more loose, profane, and corrupt than any of those here noticed, not only received a prize as the reward of his important services, but received also the public acknowledgments of an illustrious society, for having contributed to the happiness of their country !
[The popular author and singer here alluded to, was the late Charles Dibdin, who obtained a pension of £200 a year, from government, during the administration of Mr. Pitt, as a reward for his loyal ballads, which certainly had a wonderful effect, especially in the navy. When Mr. Pitt died, however, the pension was withdrawn, and poor Dibdin ended his days in poverty.-Editor.]
TOM WHITE, THE POSTBOY.
IN TWO PARTS.
Tom WHITE was one of the best drivers of a postchaise, on the Bath road. Tom was the son of an honest labourer at a little village in Wiltshire : he was an active industrious boy, and, as soon as he was old enough, he left his father, who was ourdened with a numerous family, and went to live with Farmer Hodges, a sober worthy man in the same village. He drove the waggon all the week; and on Sundays, though he was now grown up, the farmer required him to attend the Sunday-school, carried on under the inspection of Dr. Shepherd, the worthy vicar, and always made him read his Bible in the evening after he had served his cattle; and would have turned him out of his service, if he had ever gone to the ale-house for his own pleasure.
Tom by carrying some waggon-loads of faggots to the Bear Inn, at Devizes, made many acquaintances in the stable-yard. He soon learnt to compare his own carter's frock, and shoes thick set with nails, with the smart red jacket and tight boots of the post-boys, and grew ashamed of his own homely dress; he was resolved to drive a chaise, to get
money, and to see the world. Foolish fellow ! he never considered that, though it is true a waggoner works hard all day, yet he gets a quiet evening at home, and undisturbed rest at night. However, as there must be chaise-boys as well as plough-boys, there was no great harm in the change. The evil company to which it exposed him, was the chief mischief. He left Farmer Hodges, though not without sorrow at quitting so kind a master, and got himself hired at the Black Bear.
Notwithstanding the temptations to which he was now exposed, Tom's good education stood by him for some time. At first he was frightened to hear the oaths and wicked words which are too often uttered in a stable-yard. However, though he thought it very wrong, he had not the courage to reprove it; and the next step to being easy at seeing others sin, is to sin ourselves. By degrees he began to think it manly, and a mark of spirit in others to swear; though the force of good habits was so strong, that at first, when he ventured to swear himself, it was with fear, and in a low voice. But he was soon laughed out of his sheepishness, as they called it; and though he never became so profane and blasphemous as some of his companions, (for he never swore in cool blood, or in mirth, as so many do,) yet he would too often use a dreadful bad word when he was in a passion with his horses. And here I cannot but drop a hint on the deep folly, as well as wickedness, of being in a great rage with poor beasts, who, not having the gift of reason, cannot be moved, like human creatures, with all the wicked words that are said to them; though these dumb creatures, unhappily, having the gift of feeling, suffer as much as human creatuses can do, at the cruel and unnecessary beatings given them. Tom had been bred up to think that drunkenness was a great sin, for he never saw Farmer Hodges