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in the wide-spreading eddy of the devouring element. The plague and the cholera were not half so contagious, nor even famine so petrifying to the human heart. "Even the sea-monsters," says the prophet, "draw out the breast; they give suck to their young ones; the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask for bread, and no man breaketh it unto them." Such were the effects of famine; but how would the prophet have been shocked, had he been told that all this hardness of heart would afterwards exist in a land of plenty, and of religious knowledge? Yet such destitution of human feeling presents itself to our view, throughout the length and breadth of the land, and how few are the Jeremiahs that lament, or the priests that rush with the censer to stay the plague, which has so furiously begun!
In every insidious form, whether as beer, wine, or ardent spirit, the desolating pest is ravaging our country. The Dane, the Norman, or the Frank, no longer threaten our shores; and yet are we besieged in our own dwellings with an enemy more potent than they. Our sons are made slaves before our eyes; our fair countrywomen are dishonored in our streets; our most valuable citizens are ruined, beggared, and slain by a worse than Vandal assassin; and we may almost add, "there is none to pity." The cruel and premature death of the unhappy woman to which we have just referred, is far from being an isolated fact. Let those who sigh for the miseries and abominations of the land, turn their attention to this subject, and only calculate the evils that, under their individual notice, have been the effects of drunkenness; let them obtain a correct census of the suffering, want, disease, crime, and death, that, in their own neighborhoods, are known to have been the dire results of drinking, and let the information that each one can collect be added together into one grand sum total of misery and guilt, and a scene will be presented, to which the horrors of war, pestilence, and famine will furnish but an imperfect parallel.
In speaking of the amount of life that has been wantonly sacrificed by intoxication, we must not forget the disease and pre
mature dissolution that all medical men and physiologists agree in attributing to this direful poison; but as we shall make a distinct head of the subject of disease, we need not here anticipate that topic. There is one point, however, which must not be passed over, namely, the solemn consideration, that by drunkenness so many of our countrymen are hurried, unprepared, into the presence of their Judge. Hundreds every year die drunk; and, therefore, die in the committal of a crime which prevents the possibility of repentance. They die in the very act of sinning against God. The man who murders another may live after the deed, and repent of the crime; and even he who attempts suicide sometimes, from being unsuccessful in his endeavor at self-immolation, may have his life for a while prolonged to allow him to sue for mercy; but the drunkard, with reason and conscience besotted, and with passions burning with an infernal flame, presents himself, uncalled for, at the bar of that Judge who has said, that neither "thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards shall inherit the kingdom of God." We need not comment upon this awful passage, we leave every Christian to weigh in his own conscience the import of the words, "Shall not inherit the kingdom of God." We ask him to consider what it is for one soul to be rejected from that only eternal abode of bliss, and then to endeavor to find words to express the horror that reverberates to his inmost soul, at the thought of hundreds of immortal beings being excluded from the kingdom of heaven, and doomed to that misery from which there is no redemption.
If we have no balance by which the value of the life of one human being can be estimated, much less are we capable by any standards, scales, or calculations that we can command, to arrive at even a very distant approach to the worth of one immortal spirit. Could we take in our hands the balances in which the Creator determined the weight of the mountains and the hills, and by which he apportioned to each orb in the immensity of space its relative and appropriate gravity, still, in these mighty standards of equity and truth, we should find that the whole material universe, if weighed against one human soul, would be light as a feather. We have no compasses that can span the circle of those years that are to fill eternity,
and we have no arithmetic that can tell their duration. Yet the soul must live for ever in bliss or in torments. And if one soul, one lost soul, is of such value, what, then, must be the worth of myriads? And yet, if we consider the number of persons who annually die drunk, and who annually destroy others, and send them unprepared to the divine tribunal; instead of myriads, we must say that millions have already perished in consequence of drinking. There is reason to believe that the Christian church has not yet represented or depicted to itself a thousandth part of the magnitude of the evil. Our souls have thrilled with horror as we have heard of Juggernaut and the Suttees of India, or of Moloch, and the valley of the son of Hinnom; but at the very moment that we are pouring forth the tears of our pity over India or Israel, we ourselves, by using or encouraging the use of intoxicating drinks, are dragging along the ponderous wheels of the British Juggernaut, are heaping and kindling piles quite as cruel and impious as those of Hindostan, and are listening to the timbrel and pipe of the drunkery which so heartlessly mock the shrieks of the starving and perishing family of the drunkard. Surely there is a voice in all this amount of misery and crime, that cries, "touch not, taste not, handle not."
Paul uttered these exhortations concerning "things which perish in their using; " much more, then, does it behoove us to apply them to those drinks which, instead of perishing in their using, cause their recipients to perish, and impregnate the immortal spirit itself with a poisonous stain which eternity will be too short to extract or purge away.
We shall hereafter show, that when intoxicating drinks are brought to that baneful perfection to which the discovery of alcohol has advanced them, their effects on our material frame are such, that unless a miracle from heaven change the laws of our constitution, we must be corporeally, mentally, and morally ruined by their influence. Moderation in the use of such a poison, were not our taste vitiated, and our judgment corrupted by our taste, would be deemed not merely absurd, but the extreme of cruelty and presumption. "If by eating meat," said the holy apostle, “I make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while
the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." Animal food is allowed by all, as an article of diet, to be much more important than alcoholic drinks, and yet from this highly nutritious aliment the apostle declared himself ready to abstain altogether, if he discovered that this partaking of it would lead a brother into sin: he knew that all men are responsible for the influence of their example—that none of us liveth to himself— that we are parts of one great moral constitution-and, therefore, that we ought to deny ourselves even what in itself is lawful, if we saw that another could not follow our practice without falling into sin.
Now this is precisely the case respecting intoxicating drinks. Our apparent moderate use of them, and our unjust commendations of them as the "good creatures, of God," and nutritious articles of food (although it shall be shown that they are neither), may lead others to use them, who, not being possessed of our selfcontrol, may fall into ruin. In such a case we destroy him for whom Christ died," and, therefore, God" will not hold us guiltless." Every drunkard received a first lesson in tippling, and the righteous Judge of quick and dead will not forget the teacher of so delusive and deadly a practice. Jeremiah speaks of some in whose "skirts was found the blood of the souls of poor innocents," and when God shall trace the crimes of intoxication to their origin, he will not be unmindful of the hand and tongue that first proffered and commended the poisonous draught. Every one of the murderers to whom we have referred were once sober; every one was taught to drink. What, then, must be the responsibility of the parent, neighbor, or friend whose precept or example led to such an awful result? Surely the past ought to be a warning to all. The Destroying Angel has slain already a multitude which we tremble to calculate, and, therefore, the church ought to put on bowels of mercy, and cry, "Is it not enough? Stay now thine hand.”
2. Dishonesty, in all its complicated forms, has awfully increased within the last ten or twenty years. From parliamentary documents we learn, that the number of criminals committed in England and Wales, including London and Middlesex, during seven years, commencing with the year 1812, was
79,137, while in a subsequent period of seven years, ending with the year 1831, the number amounted to 152,574, showing an increase in the latter period of no less than 73,437, and that the total increase in 1831, was almost equal to the whole amount of crime in 1812, proving that in the short distance of twenty years the offences and committals of a single year had nearly doubled. By another calculation for ten years ending 1834, we find from parliamentary returns, that the number of committals for 1825, was 14,437, and in 1834 the sum had swelled to 22,451, so that the increase of the single year, 1834, above that of 1825, was 8014. In Ireland things were still worse in that country in 1823, the number committed was 14,683, but seven years after, in 1834, the committals were 22,381, showing a total increase of the year 1834, above the year 1828, of 7698. In Scotland, considering the comparative smallness of the population, crime has increased to almost an equal degree. In 1824 the total number of persons charged with offences was 2057, while in 1833, ten years after, 3289 individuals were apprehended, showing an increase of 1833 over 1824 of 1032. Thus, then, we have placed before us the alarming fact that, within a very few years, crime has increased to an awful degree. We know it will be objected that the population has also increased. We grant that it has, but still it will be seen that crime has progressed much faster. In 1821, the population of England, Scotland, and Wales, was 14,072,331, and in 1831 it was 16,260,381, yielding the increase of 2,188,050. The augmentation of the population is therefore as two to sixteen, or about one-eighth, but the increase of crime is as nine to twenty-five, or about three-eighths, and consequently full onefourth, or one quarter, greater than that of the population.
Here also the efforts made to educate and moralize the people must not be forgotten. These exertions ought to be reckoned against the increase in the population, and, under ordinary circumstances, would have prevented the progress of crime, so that although the people had multiplied, offences and committals would have decreased. Both the character of our holy religion and the effect that it has produced, in thousands of instances, upon the morals of mankind, allow us to anticipate such a