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hearts, and beggars, and idiots, and prison grates, and strait-jackets, and gallowses, and coffins !
Again ; The countenance which has been extensively and incautiously given, in worthy and serious families, to what may be called a friendly use of ardent spirits, has contributed not a little to swell the tide that roars around us, and fills every thoughtful mind with painful apprehensioas. It has been thought an essential part of common civility and respect, in many of the first families, to treat company with some kind of spirit. This has given birth to a vast deal of ingenuity in coloring, diluting, mixing, and sweetening liquors, so as to render them in the highest degree beautiful and palateable. With the kindest intentions in the world, the decanter of brandy is brought out, or the sparkling cordial is handed round. If any decline drinking, something it is presumed must be the matter. • Why Mr., or Mrs., or Miss, You don't mean to refuse, I hope. Come, do taste a little. You look pale and are fatigued, and I know it will do you good. Perhaps you don't like this. Let me help you to something else. We have brandy, old spirits, gin, cherry, &c. Name what you prefer, and it shall be brought out.' And so upon the whole, rather than be guilty of an unpardonable breach of politeness, those who at first decline, finally yield.
If it is perceived that any of the guests drink very sparingly at first, they are urged to repeat the draught.
Come do take a little more. It is extremely weak. There is scarcely a spoonful of spirits in the whole glass.'
We are very confident, that by such a use of ardent spirits, as has been mentioned in tea parties, and other friendly and social circles, many persons have contracted a thirst for liquor, which has terminated in habitual and
shameful intemperance. Nor has the mischief stopped here. The example thus set in high places, has had a baleful influence upon multitudes in the humbler walks of life. If the rich drink at their social visits, the poor will drink at theirs. This certainly has been the case hitherto, and thus the evils of drinking have been indefinitely extended and multiplied.
We hasten to suggest some of the most obvious and practicable remedies, which have occurred to us in the progress of our investigations.
The idea that our wound is incurable,' must not be indulged in for a moment. Unquestionably, the sober and virtuous members of the community, have it in their power to mitigate, if they cannot at once cure the disease ; to linit, if they cannot wholly prevent the ravages of strong drink. The
1. Remedy which we would suggest, particularly to those whose appetite for drink is strong and increasing, is a total abstinence from the use of all intoxicating liquors. This may be deemed a harsh remedy, but the nature of the disease absolutely requires it. People often form resolutions, of breaking off from the use of spirits by degrees. But for the drunkard or the almost drunkard, to think of reforming by degrees, is perfectly idle. If he should attempt and even begin to reform, by taking a little less and a little less, daily, he would most certainly relapse in a very short time. To parley with the enemy in this way, is just about the same thing as surrendering at discretion. “My observations,' says Dr. Rush, "authorize me to say, that persons who have been addicted to the use of spirits, should abstain from it suddenly and entirely. Taste not, handle not, touch not, should be inscribed upon every vessel, that contains spirits in the
house of a man,
who wishes to be cured of habits of intemperance.'
2. Let those who are yet temperate and desire to continue so, avoid as much as may be, all places of temp
ion, such as taverns and stores, where ardent spirits are kept, and offered either gratuitously, or for sale. Rather than be drawn into the snare, avoid them whollypass not by them--turn quite from them and pass another way. Remember that public meetings of various descriptions, assemblages for various purposes have led many to the intemperate use of spirits. Military days, town and freemen's meetings, vendues, raisings, balls, public dinners, celebrations of Independence-present allurements to indulgence in drinking, which some have not the resolution to resist. Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. To this end, let him avoid distilleries, dram shops and the company of all who would lead him into temptation. In short, let him consider that he is a weak, depraved creature, and that total abstinence from strong drink is the only course, in which he can be certain that he shall not be injured and even destroyed by it.
3. Much might be done to remedy the evils which we deplore, by excluding the intemperate from all respectable company. The melancholy truth is, that though it is considered disgraceful, upon the whole, to get intoxicated,—what is called a high scrape, now and then, is too often passed over, as a kind of venial fault, which by no means disqualifies persons, of either sex, for genteel and virtuous society. This injudicious toleration has in our apprehension done more than almost any thing else, to diffuse the poison among the middling and higher ranks of society. People have found, that they can habitually
drink hard, and occasionally proceed to absolute drunkenness, without entirely losing their standing, and hence they take encouragement to go on, in the road to ruin. These things ought not so to be. Let the drunkard be discarded as a common nuisance. Let a mark of infamy be set upon his forehead, which nothing but tears and repentance and thorough reformation can ever efface. If he is hungry, feed him ;—but shun him as you would a pestilence. Instead of lifting him out of the mire where he loves to wallow, stand aloof from the polluted wretch, and thus teach all others what they are to expect, if they become intemperate.
4. Our churches, by faithful discipline, might do much to limit the ravages of strong drink. No body denies, we believe, that intemperance is a disciplinable offence; and yet, alas ! how frequently is it tolerated for years, in churches of different denominations. Thus not only is Christ wounded in the house of his friends, but others are emboldened by their example, to run with them to the same excess of riot. We hope the most ignorant professor needs not be told, that when he sees his brother following strong drink, it is his duty to admonish him. If this were faithfully done, in season ; and if the incorrigible were cut off with all reasonable dispatch from church communion, how happy would be the consequences !
Let ministers of the gospel, be faithful to God and the souls of their fellow men. Can they answer it to God, if through their neglect to raise a warning voice against the evil, any of their people should perish? Do they not know, that drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God ? Will not the blood of souls be found in their skirts, if they let their Aocks go unwarned? Let them