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the church, that must be consequent on the abandonment of the use of inebriating drinks. And, in giving this opinion, it is not intended to intimate, as some affirm, that total abstinence will be, in any sense whatever, a substitute for the gospel or the grace of God.
Let us suppose that every island in the Pacific was surrounded with a great wall, like that of China, which prohibited every Christian from entering, and preaching the gospel; and let us suppose, further, that a number of persons had banded themselves together for the purpose of persuading the people to throw down these walls, and remove such obstacles out of the way; would any one say that these pioneers were substituting their "wall-razing" for the gospel of Christ? Or let us imagine that, in our own country, there was a large, deep pit, and that hundreds of our countrymen were so infatuated that they throw every thing into this pit; if you gave them money, instantly it was thrown into this pit; if you gave them clothes, instead of clothing themselves with them, away all were thrown into the pit; if you gave them Bibles or good books, very soon the word of life would be thrown into the pit; in fact, the pit mania has at length proceeded so far, that they very frequently throw their wives and their children, and even themselves, into the pit; and in this manner, thousands annually are dashed to pieces; what if a few individuals, seeing all this waste, folly, and misery, were to unite themselves together, and agree to use every effort to fill up the pit; surely there are no persons alive that would exclaim, "If you fill up that pit, you will be substituting your 'pit-filling' for the grace of God !"
If any one were to make such a remark, we should certainly conclude that his head was not marked with the organ of logic; and if we stooped to reply to such silliness, we should say, "My good friend, do you not see, that if we break down those walls you will have free access to the people to make known to them the gospel; and if we fill that pit, the people cannot throw their money, their clothes, their Bibles, and themselves into it; so that in fact, they will have clothes to wear, and will not be kept away from God's house by their filthiness and rags; they will read your Bibles and good books, and that will induce them to come to
hear you preach; many that would now have been your hearers are already fallen into the pit, some of them so heavily laden with guilt, that they have gone to the bottomless abyss, but if the pit be stopped we shall prevent the occurrence of these disasters ?" If an objector, however obtuse his intellect, were not satisfied with this reply, but still persisted that breaking down the wall, or filling up the pit, was, in a most infidel manner, to supercede the gospel, why then his sanity would be justly questionable.
The cases here supposed exactly accord with the object of the Total Abstinence Society, and its supposed interference with the grace of God. Alas! the great wall of intemperance, the devouring pit of drinking, are among us. If we go to distribute tracts or Bibles, this wall obstructs us; if we invite people to hear the gospel, intemperance like a huge wall, hinders them; if we attempt to feed them, clothe them, or instruct them, the horrible gulf of intemperance swallows up them and their substance, and we see not only money, clothing, and good books gone, but husbands, wives, and children sink beyond the voice of mercy. But break down the wall, and an effectual door will be opened for us to go in and preach the word of life; stop up this awful abyss, and thousands will be saved from misery and premature death, and will be the constant hearers of the word of salvation. "No one crime," says Lord Bacon, “destroys so many of the human race, nor alienates so much property as drunkenness." And the Rev. J. A. James, of Birmingham, observes, "Far from thinking this cause a sole means of converting sinners from the error of their ways; we deem it to be but an auxiliary to the great cause of religious truth; it is intended not to supercede, but to make way for other means." And certainly, if we can stay the plague which destroys so many of the human race, far from opposing, we are aiding the cause of religion. We never affirm that total abstinence will save any one; we as firmly believe as any tippler or moderate drinker in the country, that "there is no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved," but the name of Jesus; and, being fully assured of this fact, we are resolved as far as our power can extend, to remove from among men every hindrance that keeps them from Christ; and we certainly think, that in so doing, we are
acting quite as evangelically as those who, by drinking intoxicating drinks, are encouraging others to use a liquor which stupefies them, renders them hard hearted, and keeps them from the Redeemer.
Were total abstinence adopted, the health of our countrymen would be greatly improved. We have seen what fine athletic people those are, and always have been, who drink nothing but water: and, on the contrary, what numbers of diseases are originated or cherished by the consumption of alcoholic poisons. I need not repeat these now, having so fully treated of them in a former part of the essay. But there is not a doubt that when this principle is reduced to practice, our hospitals, instead of being crowded, will have but few inmates; and lunatic asylums will be rarely visited. Scrofula-in most instances the effect of drinking-will be purged from the blood; consumptions, asthmas, and dropsies will rarely occur; fevers, influenzas, and inflammations will be rare; indigestion, bilious and bowel complaints will be unusual; and men will be nervous in the athletic sense of the word; and though it may require some years to purify us, as a nation, from the ills that alcoholic drinks have inflicted on our constitutions, yet human life will be gradually prolonged to its natural duration; and, instead of dying in the flower of their days, men shall come to their "graves in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season." Then shall that be repeated, which was said of man in that pristine period, when
His simple fare, and Temperance ruled his board."
Was yet a distant ill, by feeble arm
As intemperance, more than any other vice, peoples our jails, let total abstinence be adopted; the sinews of drunkenness will be cut and the chief incentives to dishonesty, prostitution, and murder, be destroyed, and the consequence will be, that our prisons, which are now teeming with juvenile as well as other offenders, will stand forth, the mementos of crime of bygone years, rather than the monuments of existing iniquity.
It is a well-known fact, that bankruptcies are, in most cases, the
dire effect of intemperance. A gentleman lately told me that out of twenty-seven bad debts recorded on his books, eighteen, or two-thirds, had been contracted by persons who were addicted to drinking; and therefore had robbed their creditors, and given the money to the wine merchant. Besides the property actually wasted in these poisons, tradesmen, beguiled by the excitement they produce, look at many an undertaking under the blind stimulus of what they call a moderate glass, and speculate, to the ruin of themselves, and those who were foolish enough to trust them. Let abstinence be adopted, and the vices and extravagances which intemperance engenders or cherishes will be abandoned, men will live within their means; will use their rea son and foresight in trade; and then the names of insolvents will rarely appear in the columns of the Gazette.
There is not the shadow of a doubt but the greater part of the pauperism which now taxes the country is the effect of drinking. There are very few but might have provided for themselves, or would have been provided for by their relatives and friends if the funds necessary for these purposes had not been spent in intoxicating drinks. Should total abstinence prevail, natural affection and providence and foresight will be the characteristic of all classes and then parents will not doom their children, nor children their parents, to the mercy of a poor-house or overseer. Men will no longer lie under the reproach of being less provident and prudent than the insignificant ant which they trample in the dust with so much disdain; and thus an increased value will be given to property, and, at the same time, the comfort, happiness, and independence of all classes will be augmented.
It can scarcely be requisite to mention the crime and corruption which intoxicating drinks occasion at every election. The designing aspirant to power, or office, or emolument, who has neither intellect, principle, knowledge, nor character to recommend him to a seat in Parliament; who, in fact, has no other qualification than that of a few pounds to waste on the rabble and drunken electors in beer; by distributing largely these demoralizing liquors, ousts the honest representative from his well-merited place, and rises to an eminence which enables him to vote away the money, blood, liberties, and morals of the people at pleasure. The
history of electioneering drunkenness, and its causes and effects, would open one of the blackest pages in the exploits of corruption; but only induce the people to abstain, and you almost instantly defeat the stratagems of whig, conservative, or radical bribery.
Every one knows how intimately drinking and prostitution— the brothel and the pot-house-are connected together. There is, perhaps, scarcely a holiday-season throughout the year but greatly adds to the lists of the victims of seduction. Probably there is not a Sabbath evening passes by, without hundreds of the unwary of both sexes being beguiled to those deeds which terminate in ruin. How ill this country, or indeed any country, can afford to have the flower of its citizens worse than slain in the prime of their age; yet the drinking habits of the day are subjecting us to this heavy sacrifice. But let the principles of total abstinence prevail, and then the gin-shop, the ale-house, and the house of ill-fame, will be avoided at the same time. And it should be remembered that, to accomplish this reformation, total abstinence is especially needed; because it is not drunkenness but moderate drinking, that inflames and arms the prostitute and the seducer. What an increase of trade, also, would immediately be the result of abandoning these destructive liquors ! There is not the least doubt but the sum wasted upon these poisons, either directly or indirectly, amounts to twice the value of our present export trade. And it is equally certain, that if our drinking habits were abolished, nearly the whole of this property would be employed and spent in the manufactures, commerce, and agriculture of the country. Our trade would be more than doubled immediately. In fact, total abstinence would produce an effect equal to the instant calling into existence of four or five such countries as the United States of America, and bringing to our market an order from each of them equivalent in value to our present exports to the United States.
We often alarm ourselves lest our arts and manufactures should be learnt by foreign nations, and our export trade should thus be ruined but the adoption of total abstinence would, by increasing our home consumption, more than double the demand for whatever useful articles our markets at present supply, and thus render us independent of foreign trade altogether. This assertion