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feet eleven inches high, was, before conversion, much addicted to drunkenness, and when drunk, if disturbed, became desperate; would seize a club, spear, or any other weapon, rush out of the house and wreak his vengeance upon friend or foe, man, woman, or child, whom he might happen to meet. Several persons had fallen victims to the ferocity which the juice of the kava-root produced." After conversion to Christianity, this eminent chief "made a vow of total abstinence, and kept it until death."
How many a professor of Christianity, who cannot allow his liberty to drink what poisons himself and others to be infringed upon, the example of Tamatea must condemn! This unsophisticated chief knew that to vow to abstain from what threatened to ruin himself and thousands more, instead of subjecting himself to slavery, was an act of the holiest emancipation and liberty.
To say that we will not pledge ourselves to abstain from wines and strong drinks, because the pledge would enslave us, is to demonstrate that we are slaves already, and voluntarily submitting to the tyranny of a taste for liquors, which have done more to desolate the church than Nero or Dioclesian. When the parliament of Tahiti consulted the queen respecting the admission of intoxicating drinks, she said, "Let the principles contained in the New Testament be the foundation of all your proceedings;" and immediately they enacted a law against trading with any vessel that brought ardent spirits. The inhabitants of those islands, in many of which total abstinence had of necessity been practised, Mr. Williams tells us, are "in stature and intellect the finest upon earth." The engravings we have seen of them exhibit an athletic form, and proportion of limb of such perfection, that, in their presence, the beer and gin drinkers of Britain appear pigmies and skeletons, or mere bloated masses of deformity. And their intellectual proceedings demonstrate that we are far behind them in mental acumen and moral sensibility.
These discerning Christians passed an act for national total abstinence, and did so because they saw that the principles of the New Testament demanded such a measure. It was not so much any isolated text, as the principles of the Book gene
rally that guided their determination. They saw that love to God and man is the grand principle of the Book; and that this love enjoins us to do nothing, to eat nothing, to drink nothing, which would prove the means, directly or indirectly, of making a brother “stumble, offend, become weak,” or fall into sin. This love forbids us from "destroying by our meat or drink him for whom Christ died." These simple-hearted islanders saw all this, and resolved on total abstinence. They did not allow a metaphor, borrowed from the use of wine, the commendation of a medicinal draught, or the miraculous production of an innocent beverage, to beguile them from “walking charitably," or according to the dictates of universal “love.” They showed a maturity of critical and spiritual judgment in allowing" the principles" of the gospel to explain the metaphor, the medicine, and the miracle, instead of arraying the metaphor, the medicine, and the miracle against the principles of the gospel.
Intoxicating drinks were about to desolate their churches, to cover the island with crime, to corrupt and besot the rising generation, to take them back to heathenism; and they nobly resolved to drive the abomination from their land. They did not wax presumptuous enough to argue that if they introduced to their frames a poison which would infest their bodies and infect their minds, the grace of God would work a daily miracle to satisfy their vitiated taste, and would therefore abstract the pestilent spirit from their brains and their bones. No! these Christians believed that we are not to " do evil that good may come," and that we are prohibited from " tempting the Lord our God;" and thus making "the principles of the New Testament the foundation of their proceedings, they determined totally to abstain from so deleterious a drug. And when we look at the scourge which intoxicating drinks have inflicted on the British churches, and which, a thousand fold greater, they still threaten to inflict, can we do better than follow their example ?
INTEMPERANCE AND DISEASE.
On this topic it may be necessary to observe, that the inebriating principle in all intoxicating drinks is spirits of wine, or alcohol, and that alcohol is a poison.
Whether ardent spirits, wine, beer, porter, or cider be drunk, what is called the strength of these liquors, and for which alone they are drunk, is allowed by all medical men, chimists, and physiologists, to be an acrid poison. Dr. Dods, in his examination before the Committee of the House of Commons, stated, that "Writers on medical jurisprudence rank alcohol among narcotico-acrid poisons ;" and he adds, that “ small quantities, if repeated, always prove more or less injurious," and that "the morbid appearances seen after death, occasioned by ardent spirits, exactly agree with those which result from poisoning, caused by any other substance ranked in the same class. Sir Astley Cooper has declared, "No person has a greater hostility to dram-drinking than myself, insomuch that I never suffer any ardent spirits in my house, thinking them evil spirits; and if the poor could witness the white livers, the dropsies, the shattered nervous systems which I have seen, as the consequences of drinking, they would be aware that spirits and poisons are synonymous terms."
A testimony, similar in sentiment, was signed by nearly five hundred medical men of the first respectability, in Edinburgh, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Bradford, Brighton, Cheltenham, Derby, Dublin, Gloucester, Kilmarnock, Leeds, Leith, Lincoln, Manchester, Nottingham, Worcester, York, &c. Dr. Mussey says, "That alcohol is a poison to our organization, and tends to pervert our moral feelings, is evident from observation." And he adds, "What is poison? It is that substance, in whatever form it may be, which, when applied to a living surface, whether external or internal, disconcerts life's healthy movements. It is altogether distinct from substances which are in their nature nutritious. It is not capable of being converted into food, and of
becoming part of the living organs. We all know that proper food is wrought into our bodies. The action of animal life, occasions a constant waste, and new matter has to be taken in, which, after digestion, is carried into the blood, and there changed," and assimilated so as to supply all the waste of the frame. "But poison is incapable of this. It may, indeed, be mixed with nutritious substances," as arsenic for rats, “but if it goes into the blood, it is thrown off as soon as the system can accomplish its deliverance, unless nature has been too far enfeebled by the influence of the poison. Such a poison is alcohol; such, in all its forms, mix it with what you may. It is never digested and converted into nourishment." The same is true of it as of arsenic and corrosive sublimate.
Dr. Dods, to whom we just now referred, in his evidence before the Committee of the House of Commons, gave the following physiological explanation of the effects of this poison upon the human constitution: "Alcohol coagulates the albuminous and gelatinous parts of the structure, and corrugates the solid parts, as the muscles, &c. Its effect on the blood-vessels seems to be two-fold increased excitement and contraction in the diameter of the vessels; this tends to produce enlargement in some parts of the blood-vessels, or effusion, should their coats give way at any part of their course. Diseased deposits are frequently formed where a branch is given off, or in some wider portions of the blood-vessels, which give rise to most painful symptoms, such as are common in gout or rheumatism. Increased excitement, also, from the use of stimuli, maintained for a given time, diminishes, in proportion, the healthy functions of the organs, and leads slowly, though certainly, to alterations both in structure and function: in this way we may account for diseased livers, diseased kidneys, diseased hearts, and symptoms which indicate these in the effusions of serum, which occur in different regions of the body, and is called dropsy, water in the chest, and general anasarca.
"Very striking effects also are produced upon the nervous system, as is manifested in the imperfect muscular contractions visible in a state of intoxication, in tremors, palsies, and other maladies, which not unfrequently afflict the victim of intemperance.
Emaciation and debility, which are very common characteristics of those given to habits of spirit drinking, proceed from the constitution being robbed of its proper supply of nourishment, while at the same time it is compelled to carry on increased action, and increase the process of absorption beyond that of nutrition; besides, the glands through which the absorbent vessels pass, being kept under constant irritation, become enlarged, hardened, and variously altered in their structure, till at last they cease to carry on the functions to which they are destined, and the fluids which they used to transmit, become effused in the surrounding parts.
"The diseased deposits which occur at the heart and along the blood-vessels seem to be produced by the efforts of the minute vessels, which supply these organs, to resist the injury that might result to larger blood-vessels from their increased action, produced by the presence of ardent stimuli; in other words, a given amount of blood, with a given force, and in a given time, circulates through a set of tubes, contractile and expansible up to a certain point; these tubes are of a certain length and diameter, and, in their healthy condition, are capable of affording passage to the blood, according to the usual rate and quantity; but when their diameter is diminished through the influence of spirits, and when the frequency and force of the circulation is, from the same cause, considerably increased, the vessels become strained at some part of their course, and the vital energies instantly attempting to prevent or repair the injury, throw out fluids, which become coagulated, and remain as mechanical obstacles to the proper discharge of future functions. Many lamentable specimens of morbid deposits are furnished by habits of intemperance, and many "wearisome days and restless nights" become the purchase of such thoughtless indulgences. On the same principle might we explain enlargement of the heart, of the aorta, and other parts of the arteries, apoplexy, coma or lethargy, and the like; always taking into the account the influence of vital action, and a combination of other causes, aiding or resisting the various results. It were easy to extend my remarks on this part of the subject to a much greater length, but enough has been said to convince those who will yield to facts, of the injurious