Page images
PDF
EPUB

pp. 70, 71,

the accounts from the east, of widows This dreadful work is going on, and burnt upon the funeral piles of their yet the nation sleeps. Say not that departed husbands. But what if those all these evils result from the abuse of devotees of superstition, the Brahmins, ardent spirits; for as human nature is had discnvered a mode of prolonging constituted, the abuse is as certain as the lives of the victims for years amid any of the laws of nature. The comthe flames, and by these protracted merce, therefore, in ardent spirits, burnings were accustomed to torture which produces no good, and produces life away? We might almost rouse a certain and an immense amount of up a crusade to cross the deep, to stop evil, must be regarded as an unlawful by force such inhumanity. But alas! commerce, and ought, upon every we should leave behind us on our own principle of humanity, and patriotism, shores, more wives in the fire, than we and conscience, and religion, to be should find of widows thus sacrificed abandoned and proscribed. p. 73. in all the east; a fire too, which, besides its action upon the body, tortures A third consideration adduced to the soul by lost affections, and ruined show the uplawfulness of the comhopes, and prospective wretchedness.

merce is, that

It seems to be a manifest violaWe execrate the cruelties of the tion of the command, Thou shalt slave trade—the husband torn from the love thy neighbour as thyself; and bosom of his wife-the son from his of various other evangelical prefather-brothers and sisters separated cepts.” forever-whole families in a moment ruined! But are there no similar No mar can act in the spirit of imparenormities to be witnessed in the Uni- tial love to his neighbour, who for his ted States? None indeed perpetrated own personal emolument, inflicts on by the bayonet—but many, very many, him great and irreparable evil, for love perpetrated by intemperance.

worketh no ill to his neighbor. Love Every year thousands of families are will not burr. a neighbour's house, or robbed of fathers, brothers, husbands, poison his food, or blast his reputation, friends. Every year widows and or- or destroy his soul.

But the comphans are multiplied, and grey hairs merce in ardent spirits does all this are brought with sorrow to the grave, inevitably and often. Property, repu. no disease makes such inroads upon tation, health, life, and salvation fall families, blasts so many hopes, destroys before it. pp. 75, 76. so many lives, and causes so many mourners to go about the streets, be- It is scarcely a palliation of this evil cause man goeth to his long home. that no man is destroyed maliciously-

We have heard of the horrors of the or with any direct intent to kill--for middle passage-the transportation of the certainty of evil is as great as if slaves--the chains—the darkness--the waters were poisoned which some perstench--the mortality and living mad- sons would surely drink, or as if a man ness of woe-and it is dreadful. But should fire in the dark upon masses of bring together the victims of intem- human beings where it must be certain perance, and crowd them into one vast that death would be the consequence lazar-house, and sights of woe quite to some. as appalling would meet your eyes.

Yes in this nation there is a middle The consideration, that those, to passage of slavery, and darkness, and whose injury we are accessary by the chains, and disease, and death. But sale of ardent spirits, are destroyed it is a middle passage, not from Africa also by the perversion of their own to America, but from time to eternity, free agency-and that the evil is silent, and not of slaves whom death will re. and slow-paced in its march-doubtlease from suffering, but of those whose less subtracts in no small degree, from sufferings at death do but just begin. the keen sense of accountability and Could all the sighs of these captives crime, which would attend the adbe wasted on one breeze, it would be ministration of arsenic, or the taking loud as thunder. Could all their tears of life by the pistol, or the dagger-as be assembled, they would be like the does also the consideration that alsea. pp. 71, 72.

though we may withold the cup, yet, Vol. I.-No. XII.

82

p. 76.

from some other source the deleterious firm earth should open a passage for potion will be obtained.

the wailings of despair, to come op But all this alters not the case. He from beneath. pp. 82, 83. who deliberately assists his neighbour to destroy his life, is not guiltless be- In this position the author has cause his neighbour is a free agent taken high ground, and will be met and is also guilty--and he is accessary by much opposing interest, if not to the crime, though twenty other per

with valid argument. That great sons might have been ready to com

evils flow from the sale of ardent mit the same sin if he had not done it. pp. 79, 80.

spirits we have a most unhappy

amount of evidence That these The ungodliness in time, and the evils are inseparable from the trafeverlasting ruin in eternity, insepara- fic, and will exist as long as the ble from the commerce in ardent spir- traffic itself exists, is almost equally its, proscribe it as an unlawful article obvious. But how large a share of of traffic.

the blame the public sentiinent may Who can estimate the hatred of God, of his word and worship, and of eventually be brought to lay at the his people, which it occasions; or

door of the dealer, or in whai pronumber the oaths and blasphemies it portion justice herself may weigh causes to be uttered-or the violations out the guilt to the varions parties of the Sabbath--the impurities and concerned in the case-the distil. indecencies-violence and wrong-do- ler, and the vender, and the tempeing--which it originates? How many rate and intemperate abusers, of thousands does it detain every Sabbath- ardent spirits, it is a difficult matday from the house of God-cutting them off from the means of grace and

ter to settle. hardening them against their efficacy?

It is not our design to discuss parHow broad is the road which intem- ticular measures.

We cannot apperance alone opens to hell, and how prove of all the measures, or all the thronged with travellers! p. 80. doctrine of which we have heard

from some places abroad. There Oh! were the sky over our beads is now a healthful excitement which one great whispering gallery, bring. is spreading itself through the coming down upon us all the lamentation munity, to a degree we believe unand the firm earth one sonorous medi precedented, and which we trust um of sound, bringing up around us

will gradually work a full conviction from beneath, the wailings of the dam- in the public mind respecting this ned, whom the commerce in ardent great evil, and prepare the way for a spirits had sent thither ;--these tre- general co-operation in its removal ; mendous realities assailing our sense,

and we shonld deprecate any prowould invigorate our conscience, and ceedings which should contribute to give decision to our purpose of reform. prevent such an issue. Proscripation. But these evils are as real, tion, and censure, and enthusiastic as if the stone did cry out of the wall, and the beam answered it--as real, as

measures which outstrip the public if day and night, wailings were heard feeling, and lose sight of long esin every part of the dwelling and tablished prejudices and bereditary blood and skeletons were seen upon babits of thinking, cannot subserve every wall-as real, as if the ghostly the cause. forms of departed victims, flitted about There is one general aim in which the ship as she passed o'er the billows, the friends of temperance, we trust, and showed themselves nightly about stores and distilleries, and with un.

are prepared to unite-the doing earthly voices screamed in our ears

away of drinking as a custom. A their loud lament. They are as real

more definite union is not, perhaps, as if the sky over our heads collected at present to be expected. Men and brought down about us all the may ditler in their views of subordi. notes of sorrow in the land and the nate means, though they may labor

faithfully for the main result, ac- fluence of our young men at these cording to their own convictions. institutions, be enlisted on the side One may think it inexpedient to of temperance and sobriety. sigo a written paper, though he will Our judges, on the bench, have a resolve on total abstinence; anoth- peculiar opportunity for illustrating er may deem it needless to submit the nature, effects, and dangers of himself to a plıysician, though he intemperance. A vast proportion will banish ardent spirits from his of all the trials for crimes, which family; another may refuse to label come before them, have their origin his decanters, though he will re- in this sin. Their weight of charmove them from his sight and ab- acter, and their station, give them jure their contents. But in respect vast influence ; and their independto the great end in view we trust ence enables them to exercise it there is but one sentiment among without danger.

Were all our the friends of reform-one common judges to follow the examples of and irrevocable resolve, that ardent Sir Matthew Hale and Judge Rush, spirits must be banished from com- they would be among the most efmon use in society.

fective promoters of temperance. For the attainment of this end, We would most earnestly appeal to all the channels of information, and them, in this pressing exigency, to all the sources of influence in our send down from their elevation a land, need to be put in requisition, healing influence.

'The ministers of the gospel must Our physicians can give most efmake this a more frequent topic of fectual help to the work of reformtheir public instructions. Probably ation. To their profession it perthere are few of them, who do not tains to explain scientifically the touch on it occasionally, and per- effects of ardent spirits upon the anhaps declaim vehemently against imal functions,and upon the mind as the folly. guilt, and mischiefs of in- connected with them. From their temperance. But if a reformation skill, and their office as the guardians is to be effected, they must take of our health, their opinions will wider views, and show the dangers have great weight, not only with the attending the common and temperate enlightened, but with the ignorant use of spirits. They must expose also. The tract of Dr. Rush has the causes of the prevalence of this probably had more influence to evil, and exhibit its fearful extent repress intemperance, than any othand the jeopardy in which it places er publication in this country. It our social, civil, and religious priv. is a subject of devout gratitude to ileges. They must pursue the sub. God, that so inany of the Faculty ject perseveringly, give line upon have expressed their opinion, and line, and precept upon precept, and lent their influence to arrest the make“the pulp.t, in the sober use of progress of intemperance.

We its legitimate powers, the great de- rnestly entreat them to pursue fence, support, and ornament of vir- the course which they have comtue's cause."

menced, and interpose their skill The officers of our colleges may to purge away this miasma, to be important auxiliaries in this great cleanse this fountain of evils. work. Let them make the evils of Public addresses, well written intemperance, and the dangerous tracts, and newspapers, are imporpath that leads to it--the occasional tant auxiliaries in.this good cause. and convivial use of spirits—a sub- They diffuse information, and keep ject of remark on every proper oc- up attention and inquiry. They casion ; and let all the intelligent throw light upon this scene of darklove of country, and the future in- ness, and keep it visible.

earn

The American Society for the teachers may in this respect, rempromotion of Temperance will be a edy in some degree, the defects of great agent in the work of reforma- parental instruction and care ; and tion. We hail the existence of such may strengthen the hands of faithful an association as a great blessing to parents. It is their unquestionable our country. We trust it will re- duty to warn the children under ceive the patronage of all good their care, against the temptations men, and that it will not be suffered and dangers to which they are or to want the means of doing all that may be exposed. By repeated inmay be done, to awaken the public struction and admonition they may mind, and change the national ha- do much to fortify them against the bit.

temptations to this vice. If sabWe most seriously recommend bath schools had no other influence to all heads of families, to instruct than this, they would deserve the those under their care in the de- patronage of every Christian and ceitfulness of this sin, and their patriot, and every friend to our sodanger of falling into it. Could all cial institutions should use his exerbeads of families be made to under- tions to bring all our children and stand this subject, and faithfully to youth under the influence of sabuse their exertions, we should have bath school instruction, were it but great hope that the rising genera. for this purpose alone. tion might be preserved from con- The churches of our Lord Jesus tamination. The common use of Christ are loudly called upon to ardent spirits in the fainily is one bcar a conspicuous part in the work great cause of its prevalence abroad. of reformation. They are bound, Many respectable and many pionis by the most sacred obligations, to heads of families have not been sen- bear testimony against every sin, sible of the ease with which artific and to be ready for every good cial appetites are acquired, and per- work. As a city set on a bill their nicious habits formed ; their chil- example is conspicuous. Their OWA dren have been almost nursed upon experience may teach them the neardent spirits in their infancy, have cessity of peculiar watchfulness in been encouraged to drink in their respect to the sin of intemperance. childhood, and have had free access For as far as our knowledge exto the decanter in their youth. tends, this sin is the cause of more They have used spirits freely to cases of discipline, and more discure slight indispositions, to pre- turbance in the churches, than all vent sickness, to relieve fatigue, other crimes together; and still and to proruote cheerfulness. Thus these churches retain not a few the future ruin of many a child has members, who, by their too free use been laid in his minority. If the of spirits, cloud the light of their heads of families would exclude the example, and prevent their own common use of spirits in their hou- edification. Let the cburches, ses, would watch over their house. wherever it is necessary, purge out holds and warn them of their dan- this old leaven, and be more faithful ger, they might be kept uncontam- in their watch and brotherly admoinated till they arrive at manhood; nition. Though we do not believe and be fortified against the tempta- that Christ has given them power tions to which they would be expo- to institute new laws, or to make sed in riper years.

new terms of communion, yet they Sabbath school instruction may may faithfully execute the laws of bé employed as a powerful auxili- Christ's house. They may pass ary for the prevention of intempe- resolutions and recommendations

The superintendents and which may have a salutary influ

yance.

ence upon their own members, and spirits at their meetings for social extend to all around them.

intercourse and on public occasions, Christians in their individual ca- it would have a happy influence ; pacity, if they will take up the cross others would imitate the example and deal faithfully with their fellow and break up this ruinous custom. men, may do much by affectionate We do not despair of such a reand prudent admonition, and by sult in respect to social drinking; their own example. Let them not we believe the steps to it are albe backward in this great duty. ready commenced. But how shall

The sources of temptation, which the laboring classes be persuaded are most extensive and dangerous to relinquish ardent spirits ? The in their influence, and which are prejudice is deep rooted in their in our view most difficult to man- minds, that they are useful, and haage, are social drinking in its vari- bit has made them almost as necesous forms, and the use of ardent sary as their food. Many of them spirits as a stimulant to labor. Dry feel that to refuse them the customup these fountains and you cut off ary stimulus, is an act of unkindone half, if not a greater proportion ness; is depriving them of the chief of the streams, which communicate solace of their toil. the poison and desolate our land. We have no wish that they should

To take a glass with our friends deny themselves, or should be deis corsidered an expression of so- nied proper alleviation of their facial, generous feeling ; to refuse to tigues ; but we do not despair of comply with the fashion, requires producing conviction in their minds, more resolution than many men that the use of ardent spirits is ulpossess. Especially is this tempta- timately not only no relief to their tion too powerful with the young labor, but is injurious to their health, and inconsiderate. They yield to and dangerous to their morals. the omnipotence of custom. - To It is contradicting the analogy of offer spirits to guests is regarded as God's providence, to suppose that an expression of hospitality, and the necessary supports of that labor few are willing to hazard their rep- which he has imposed upon us, is to utation for this virtue, by resistance be sought in the refinements of art ; to the custom. This custom must that the grain which he has given be changed, or intemperance will us, must pass through the process be perpetuated and increased. It of distillation 10 minister to our is possible to check, if not to change strength. But we have better eviit. Let those who are impressed dence than mere analogy. Men of with the evil of it, refuse to partake the best inedical skill have decided, of the social glass, and neither give and their decision has never been nor receive ardent spirits as a token disproved, that “there is not a parof hospitality : we believe their ticle of nourishment in ardent spirnumbers and respectability are such, its.” Their principal effect is to that they will break the charm which produce a temporary excitement, now holds many in bondage, and which is followed by indirect debilthat it will soon be considered re- ity. Under this excitement, the putable not only not to partake of powers of the body are capable of this social cheer or to furnish it for extraordinary effort, but on the reothers, but that to offer it will be flux of the tide they sink further beregarded as disrespectful and un- low the ordinary level, than they genteel.

have been raised above it, and are If our most respectable young left in a state of exhaustion which men can be persuaded to discoun- ardent spirits have no power to retenance the introduction of ardent plenish : so that the labor perform

« PreviousContinue »