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at our effeminacy-but trembling spectres of bloated and inflammatory automatons, borrowing their spirit and courage, not from any native nerve, intellect, or moral principle, but from the inspirations of a poison. The day-laborer now must get his vigor, not as in ancient days, or as nature would dictate, from nutritious food, but from a spirit which all men agree has in it no aliment whatever. For the ploughman, remember, drinks his beer not for the nourishment it contains, but for the sake of the stimulating poison. Even he has philosophy enough about him to know that he eats bread for nutrition and drinks beer for its spirit. The finer it is, and consequently the less of solid matter it contains, and the lighter it weighs—for its weight decreases just in proportion as its strength increases—the more he esteems it. The carpenter has not strength to saw a plank or drive a nail until he has borrowed courage from the tankard. Eating is likely to be superseded, human stomachs and digestive organs are being supplanted; and, indeed, from being poisoned with alcohol, are getting so troublesome that could they be parted with, many would dismiss them from their bodies and throw them to the worms before their time. Drink, drink is everything. Every one tells us he has a diseased stomach, and cannot live without drink.
From the prince to the peasant, the great mutiny against wholesome food is going on. Although the population has increased, the evidence before House of Commons showed that in some of our large towns, as Bristol for example, bakers, butchers, and the venders of nutritious food, have decreased, and alehouses and gin-shops for the sale of poison have multiplied ten to one, and while the grocer becomes a bankrupt for want of custom, the innkeeper drives his blood horses, and the gin-seller builds a palace. In our time the tradesman cannot keep his books, the senator get up his speech, the barrister defend his client, nor the parson compose his sermon, without seeking inspiration from alcohol. Were either of these to dine or sup without a little of this poison, he tells us that he could not proceed with his calling or profession. Genius, talent, and religion seem to be fled, and their vile substitutes are a wine-bottle or beer-barrel. Even the hospitality of friendship and the cheerful
intercourse of relatives, seem no longer to flow from human sympathy and religious principle, but to be drawn directly from the cask or decanter: to such a degree are we unnerved in body and perverted in mind and morals!
Were this love of strong drink removed, we should become the most moral and healthy of the nations. Science has already done wonders in tracing out what is useful and what is pernicious to our constitution. Although life has been so dreadfully sacrificed and tortured, yet within the last half century Science has added not less than ten or twelve years to the period of our existence; and if, while having to contend with all the counteracting influence of alcohol she has done so much, how much greater would have been her blessings but for this destructive liquor! Hitherto, also, chimistry has employed itself chiefly in preventing disease, or in discovering remedies; but let its penetrating eye be turned more directly and extensively to the examination of what is nutritious and what is deleterious, and we shall approximate to that happy state in which "the inhabitant shall no more say I am sick."
That human life shall be very greatly prolonged beyond its present limits is one of the plain declarations of prophecy. The following is Dr. Lowth's translation of the 65th Chapter of Isaiah, verse 20-23.
"No more shall there be an infant short lived,
Nor an old man who hath not fulfilled his days;
For he that dieth a hundred years old shall die a boy,
And the sinner that shall die at an hundred years shall be deemed accursed.
And they shall build houses and inhabit them;
And they shall plant vineyards and eat * the fruit of them :
They shall not build and another inhabit ;
They shall not plant and another eat;
For as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people,
And they shall wear out the works of their own hands.
My chosen shall not labor in vain,
Neither shall they generate a short lived race."
*Shall" eat," not drink, the fruit of the vine, if alcohol may be so called, for it is rather the fruit of fermentation than of the vine.
Every one who has read the sacred original must allow that this translation is literal; and, without staying in this place to settle the point respecting the number of years that it allots to man, it must be evident to all that it apportions to the inhabitants of this world a much longer period of life than threescore years and ten. A little reflection will show us that Scripture has placed no specific limit to human life. The passage of Moses so often quoted, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten,” is neither a decree nor a prediction, but a plain historical fact. That psalm was evidently written during a time of great mortality, and Moses simply states that "three or fourscore years" was the utmost limit then allowed them by disease, or by the decree that doomed them to die in the wilderness. But he does not say that the men of other generations shall not be permitted to live to a longer date. On such a topic he is altogether silent. So the text in Genesis, "His days shall be an hundred and twenty years," merely promises that number of days to the antediluvians previous to the flood, but it does not say that the men of other times shall never exceed that limitation. Indeed, we find immediately after the deluge, that the patriarchs and others had their lives prolonged far beyond that duration.
In the Tables of Mortality for England and Wales, commencing at 1813, and ending with 1830, being a period of eighteen years, we find that from the age of 81 to that of 124, upwards 245,000 persons were buried. Of these 11,173 lived to the age of 90, and 707 lived to the age of 100 years; 18 lived to 110; 3 died at 120, and one man lived to be 124.
The following well-authenticated instances of longevity are copied from Baker's Curse of Britain, page 24, 2d edition :—
130 Joseph Bam
130 Col. Tho. Winsloe .
. 130 Judith Crawford.
137 Mrs. Letitia Cox
850 persons had reached from
140 Peter Porton
143 Petratsch Czarten.
From the statistics of Russia, it appears, that in 1838 there were in that country the following instances of longevity:—
Herodotus tells us that the average life of the Macrobians was 120 years, and that they never drank anything stronger than milk. I knew one man who was 104 years old, and was a very lively, brisk old man. Speaking of his wife, he said to me, "She is but a girl to me, for she is only 70, and, therefore, more than 30 years younger than I am." Another man in the same town, Devonport, was upwards of 100. I have at present in my church an old man, Richard Poulston, who is upwards of 100. He joined the church after he was 96. At that time he often attended divine worship four times of a Sabbath, walked
several miles, and ascended two very steep hills, that he might enjoy the preaching of the gospel.
I mention these facts to show that our life is not of necessity confined to 66 three-score years and ten." Indeed, no one can have visited sick beds, and have witnessed how long, beyond all expectation, the vital spark has lingered about its clay tenement, without perceiving that, in many instances disease has had a hard struggle before it could dislodge the soul from its earthly dwelling. We have all seen what a tedious and painful amount of sufferings individuals of delicate constitutions can endure before their spirits can be induced to depart to their long home.
While, therefore, we allow that the thread of life is brittle, and can be snapped asunder by a very slight accident, yet we must also grant, that in the ordinary course of things, the period of our dissolution may be deferred to a very distant period. Let mankind be properly fed and clothed; let them inhale the healthful atmosphere, and have plenty of exercise; let their houses be well ventilated, their persons be kept clean, and their minds be usefully and cheerfully employed, and such men as Old Parr will no longer be prodigies of longevity.
Now, every man who drinks alcoholic drinks must of necessity cut short his days. He may live to be eighty, but he would have lived longer but for these poisons. "He that shall die at a hundred years old, shall die a boy," says Isaiah, intimating, that at such an age, instead of the vigor of the frame being decayed, it will not have arrived at maturity; so that instead of the shrivelled and wrinkled members which we now sometimes see at fifty, it shall not be an uncommon sight to have men as old as Moses, whose " 'eyes have not waxed dim, and whose natural strength has not abated." Nothing would be more likely to hasten so glorious a period than the banishment of alcohol from the world. We should then, probably, have but one disease among us, and that would be death: not death at the age of thirty or forty years, but men would come to their graves “in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season."
We know that some are ready to exclaim, that they do not wish to live so long. Perhaps not; and yet few are willing to