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   Chapter 13 [HE GETS DRUNK AND BREAKS HIS LEG—GOD'S JUDGMENTS UPON DRUNKARDS.]

The Works of John Bunyan Volume 3 By John Bunyan Characters: 6882

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


WISE. Remorse, I cannot say he ever had, if by remorse you mean repentance for his evils. Yet twice I remember he was under some trouble of mind about his condition. Once when he broke his leg as he came home drunk from the ale-house; and another time when he fell sick, and thought he should die. Besides these two times, I do not remember any more.

ATTEN. Did he break his leg then?

WISE. Yes; once as he came home drunk from the ale-house.

ATTEN. Pray how did he break it?

WISE. Why upon a time he was at an ale-house, that wicked house about two or three miles from home, and having there drank hard the greatest part of the day, when night was come, he would stay no longer, but calls for his horse, gets up and like a madman, as drunken persons usually ride, away he goes, as hard as horse could lay legs to the ground. Thus he rid, till coming to a dirty place, where his horse flouncing in, fell, threw his master, and with his fall broke his leg. So there he lay. But you would not think how he swore at first. But after a while, he coming to himself, and feeling by his pain, and the uselessness of his leg, what case he was in, and also fearing that this bout might be his death; he began to cry out after the manner of such, Lord help me, Lord have mercy upon me, good God deliver me, and the like. So there he lay, till some came by, who took him up, carried him home, where he lay for some time, before he could go abroad again.

ATTEN. And then you say he called upon God.

WISE. He cried out in his pain, and would say, O God, and, O Lord, help me. But whether it was that his sin might be pardoned, and his soul saved, or whether to be rid of his pain, I will not positively determine; though I fear it was but for the last; because when his pain was gone, and he had got hopes of mending, even before he could go abroad, he cast off prayer, and began his old game; to wit, to be as bad as he was before.[67] He then would send for his old companions; his sluts also would come to his house to see him, and with them he would be, as well as he could for his lame leg, as vicious as they could be for their hearts.

ATTEN. It was a wonder he did not break his neck.

WISE. His neck had gone instead of his leg, but that God was long-suffering towards him; he had deserved it ten thousand times over. There have been many, as I have heard, and as I have hinted to you before, that have taken their horses when drunk as he; but they have gone from the pot to the grave; for they have broken their necks betwixt the ale-house and home. One hard by us also drunk himself dead; he drank, and died in his drink.

ATTEN. It is a sad thing to die drunk.

WISE. So it is; but yet I wonder that no more do so. For considering the heinousness of that sin, and with how many others sins it is accompanied, as with oaths, blasphemies, lies, revellings, whorings, brawlings, &c., it is a wonder to me that any that live in that sin should escape such a blow from Heaven, that should tumble them into their graves. Besides, when I consider also how, when they are as drunk as beasts, they, without all fear of danger, will ride like bedlams and madmen, even as if they did dare God to meddle with them if he durst, for their being drunk. I say, I wonder that he doth not withdraw his protecting providences from them, and leave them to those dangers and destructions that by their sin they have deserved, and that by

their bedlam madness they would rush themselves into. Only I consider again, that he has appointed a day wherein he will reckon with them, and doth also commonly make examples of some, to show that he takes notice of their sin, abhors their way, and will count with them for it at the set time (Acts 17:30,31).

ATTEN. It is worthy of our remark, to take notice how God, to show his dislike of the sins of men, strikes some of them down with a blow; as the breaking of Mr. Badman's leg, for doubtless that was a stroke from heaven.

WISE. It is worth our remark, indeed. It was an open stroke, it fell upon him while he was in the height of his sin; and it looks much like to that in Job-'Therefore he knoweth their works, and overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed. He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others.' Or, as the margin reads it, 'in the place of beholders' (Job 34:25,26). He lays them, with his stroke, in the place of beholders. There was Mr. Badman laid; his stroke was taken notice of by every one, his broken leg was at this time the town talk. Mr. Badman has broken his leg, says one. How did he break it? says another. As he came home drunk from such an ale-house, said a third. A judgment of God upon him, said a fourth. This his sin, his shame, and punishment, are all made conspicuous to all that are about him. I will here tell you another story or two.

I have read, in Mr. Clark's Looking-glass for Sinners, that upon a time a certain drunken fellow boasted in his cups that there was neither heaven nor hell; also he said he believed that man had no soul, and that, for his own part, he would sell his soul to any that would buy it. Then did one of his companions buy it of him for a cup of wine, and presently the devil, in man's shape, bought it of that man again at the same price; and so, in the presence of them all, laid hold on the soul-seller, and carried him away through the air, so that he was never more heard of.[68]

He tells us also, that there was one at Salisbury, in the midst of his health, drinking and carousing in a tavern; and he drank a health to the devil, saying that if the devil would not come and pledge him, he would not believe that there was either God or devil. Whereupon his companions, stricken with fear, hastened out of the room; and presently after, hearing a hideous noise, and smelling a stinking savour, the vintner ran up into the chamber; and coming in he missed his guest, and found the window broken, the iron bar in it bowed, and all bloody. But the man was never heard of afterwards.[69]

Again, he tells us of a bailiff of Hedley, who, upon a Lord's day, being drunk at Melford, got upon his horse, to ride through the streets, saying that his horse would carry him to the devil. And presently his horse threw him, and broke his neck. These things are worse than the breaking of Mr. Badman's leg; and should be a caution to all of his friends that are living, lest they also fall by their sin into these sad judgments of God.

But, as I said, Mr. Badman quickly forgot all; his conscience was choked before his leg was healed. And, therefore, before he was well of the fruit of one sin, he tempts God to send another judgment to seize upon him. And so he did quickly after. For not many months after his leg was well, he had a very dangerous fit of sickness, insomuch that now he began to think he must die in very deed.

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