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the week's stock being laid in, the husband and wife may escape the temptations of a Saturday evening's debauch.
The practices also of drinking at baptisms, marriages, and funerals, should be abandoned. To be unable to rejoice at the birth of a child, or at its consecration to the Redeemer, unless we have the tankard, or the wine bottle, is to show, that, far from being Christians, we are sunk below the brute creation. To need any other cheer than that which natural affection begets, or religion inspires, is to prove that we are heartless and Christless. The vulture, without gin, exults in her offspring; and the tigress, without wine, fondles over her young; and shall bosoms, warmed with the nobler feelings of humanity; understandings, enlightened by the Spirit of the Almighty; hearts, glowing with divine love, and hopes, throbbing with the inspirations of celestial prospects, need the accursed fire of alcoholic poison to cheer them and enable them to rejoice? God forbid, that we should blaspheme humanity, and blaspheme our Maker by such an intimation!
And again we ask, must youthful love be inspired and consecrated, and connubial love cherished and kept alive, by the fires of alcohol? The very suggestion of such a thought intimates that we are "without natural affection," and ought never to marry. The love, or the cheer, or joy, that must be drawn from the wine vessel, are unnatural, artificial, inhuman, and neither fit for the bosoms of human beings, brutes, nor demons. And can we expect that God will baptize the child with his Spirit whose parents are polluting themselves with strange fire; or that those nuptials can be blessed, or that union be happy, which was stained with the foamings of the drunkard's bowl! History and fact answer, No. Drinking at births, weddings, and baptisms, are among the fruitful sources of drunkenness in all our large towns; and we all know the thousand miseries attendant upon this most desolating sin.
I may be told that the Savior wrought a miracle, that wine might not be wanting at the marriage of Cana. So he did. But I have before shown, from the character of the wines which in that country were called "good ;" and from the wisdom, love, and compassion which regulated every action of the Redeemer,
that the wine was neither alcoholic nor inebriating. I would not, for the wealth of the Indies, insinuate that the Son of God produced a beverage which he knew would poison the stomach, inflame the passions, and corrupt the morals of the guests. He wrought that miracle to show or "manifest forth his glory, that his disciples might believe on him ;" but no one, except an infidel or a drunkard, would say, that his "glory was manifested," in producing a drink which poisoned his friends; and the knowledge that he did so, instead of awaking or confirming our faith in him, would be calculated to beget unbelief.
Let our drinks at weddings and baptisms, if we cannot be happy without them, be such as shall manifest the "glory of Christ," and such as shall neither reflect on our prudence and kindness, nor endanger our health and morals. And let us remember, that the sooner we obtain the custom of deriving our cheer from the proper exercise of human affections; from benevolent, intellectual, and moral sources, rather than from the merely animal and brutish gratifications of eating and drinking meats and drinks," the sooner we shall prove that our minds and affections have arrived at maturity.
The baneful custom of drinking at funerals must be abolished. At such a time, generally speaking, the "heart is soft." Most men, if sober, are serious, and disposed to reflection, at a funeral. The corpse, the shroud, the coffin, and the grave, and the tolling bell, strike the tongue of the swearer and obscene talker dumb, paralyze the unchaste, clothe the face of the jester with melancholy, and make the infidel tremble, and half forswear his be lief in chance and annihilation; but let the cup pass round a little, and how the scene changes! These very mourners, who came to mourn, and actually felt seriously and morally for a while; and felt, too, that it was good to have the finer sensibilities of our nature called into exercise; that it was proper and profitable to " weep with those that weep ;" that it was "better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of mirth ;" these very mourners begin to
"Reel over the full bowl, and when 'tis drained,
and yet the very drink, that excites that demon grin, and jest at the ruin of a temple which divine power built and sin demolished, is tinctured with a poison which, at the very moment that the scorner laughs, is impregnating his vitals, polluting his soul, and hurrying him to the pangs of the "second death."
How dreadful, also, is the havoc which this accursed liquor commits upon the feelings of the bereaved! Alcohol murders the infant at the breast, and the broken-hearted mother throws herself into the arms of the assassin to have her sorrows assuaged, and her heart comforted. He slays the youth that was the only stay of his father's house; and the parents, while shedding tears of blood for their loss, cling more closely than ever to the fiend that has blasted all their hopes, and written them "childless." How often have we seen the hoary-headed relative, or friend, that came to weep, and actually did weep and pray, and resolve to be a Christian, as long as the cup was kept from him-drink himself drunk, and stagger home from the grave of the friend that he loved; not, alas! more serious, but more hardened and brutish from the visitation. All the tears of sympathy have been dried up by this fiery stimulant; all the solemnities of the grave chased away; and all the suitable exhortations of the minister neutralized, by the demoralizing influence of that vile drink so copiously supplied at funerals. Volumes would not suffice to tell the mischiefs that arise from the practice of pushing round the venomous cup, on these solemn occasions; but surely, as Christians, we ought, by our total abstinence, and benevolent admonitions, to prevent death and the grave from being incentives to vice, immorality, and hardness of heart.
We ought also to abolish the practice of rewa ewarding men for their labor or their kindness, by promising them, or paying them with these pernicious drinks. What a shame to administer to the laborer a cup of poison instead of wages; or to reward the kind-hearted neighbor, who did us a service, with a stimulating draught which made him thirst for more, and sent him to the ale-house to perfect himself in drunkenness! Give him bread, give him clothes, give him a book, or give him money, but endanger not his morals, his health, and soul, by giving him an in
ebriating drink. Often, in this proceeding, there is as much knavery and craft, as there is recklessness of the character of the hapless recipient. Labor, worth ten times the amount of the value of the beer or gin which is given, is wrung, or inveigled out of the poor dupe for a paltry pot or glass of poison; and yet the self-styled Christian that does this, has the impudence to thank God that he is not a sharper! "The hire thus kept back,” and for which a worthless demoralizing poison was substituted, "crieth, and its cry entereth into the ears of the Lord God of Sabaoth." By such deeds, "treasure is heaped together for the last days."
The custom of toasting every thing by drinking strong drinks, must be abandoned. Never, perhaps, was there a more irrational and absurd practice. As though we could not express our loyalty to the Queen, our good wishes to the bishops, clergy, and church, or our affection to our friends or country, without swallowing a portion of poison! If there is any real connection between drinking and loyalty, why not use an innocent beverage? In thousands of instances, the love of drink, and not love to the Monarch, is the origin of the toast, and those who are most noisy with their "three times three," are swallowing all their money, all their morality, all their loyalty and patriotism at the same time. Some of these would curse God and the king for a pot of beer; and others, ruined by drinking and toasting, are just ready for any thing that would mend their affairs, and get them some drink.
The most disloyal and disaffected of our countrymen are those who have beggared themselves by drinking. It is impossible to tell the crime and the misery which drinking of toasts has originated. Lewis the XIV. of France, is said to have foreseen the consequences, and to have prohibited the drinking of toasts. But if, after all, we must express our feelings of loyalty and affection in this manner, why not use a liquor that is perfectly harmless? The writer has been at several public dinners, and drunk all the toasts in water, and done so without any annoyance from others, and with the greatest advantage to his own health and enjoyment, both at the meeting, and after its exciteWater drinking kept him from the evil of over
ment was over.
excitement, and therefore was alike beneficial to health and to feeling.
We ought not to tempt our friends by placing these drinks before them. You would not offer them digitalis or prussic acid, and why give them what is quite as much a poison, and may be more destructive? Give your friend prussic acid, and he will die at once; the suffering will be short, the tale soon told; but give him alcohol, and you may cherish, or call forth, a taste, which will torment him with indigestion, unnerve and paralyze his powers, excruciate him with gout, and bring him slowly to the grave; but not, perhaps, until he has sacrificed his property, his character, his friends, and his soul; and thus a murder will be perpetrated which the language of mortals wants words to describe. If he must have strong drink, act like the sons of the prophets of old. Cry, "alas!" and tell him, there is "death in the pot."
Finally. We ought to substitute an innocent beverage for the poison which is now so generally used at the Lord's table. I have before shown, that at the first sacrament, our Lord drank an unfermented wine; we therefore sin against his blessed example by the use of any other; and we place in the hands of the members of the church a beverage which may cherish or call forth a vitiated taste, injurious, and perhaps fatal to their piety. Not long ago, a reformed drunkard, and apparently a converted man, approached the Lord's table at a church which I could name; he ate the bread, and drank the wine, but mark the result. The taste of a drunkard for alcohol is like that of the blood-hound for blood—a single sip makes him thirst for more: so here; the wine tasted at the sacred communion, revived the old passion, and he who seemed a Christian, was corrupted by the sacramental wine, went home, got drunk, and died a drunkard! Surely we ought not to change "the cup of the Lord into the cup of devils.'
Viewed in whatever light they may be, the benefits that must follow the adoption of total abstinence, are incalculable. I am persuaded that very few persons are at all alive to the importance of the subject, or have any idea of the glorious prospects of happiness and prosperity, both to the world and