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been ignorantly exalting them to a place among the choicest and most necessary bounties of heaven; until, as the victims of our own delusion, we have become, by our intemperance, an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word among the nations !
To meet the evil in all its complexity and magnitude, it is not enough, then, that the church should merely abstain from the causes of it. She must endeavour to make some reparation for her past supineness, and folly, by coming forth, as the unflinching exposer of the delusions, from which, in common with the world, she has so long suffered.
In the first place, her MINISTERS must make it a part of their business to explain from the pulpit, the real nature of all intoxicating liquors ;* and must
* The following extracts strikingly exhibit the danger attending the use of intoxicating liquors, and even to ministers themselves :
Q.“ Have you known many persons, moving in a respect. able sphere in society, whose character and success have been injured by intemperate habits ?"
A. “I have known. very many. I have been given to understand that the last detachment of troops, sent out to India, included upwards of sixty young men, who had been moving in respectable circles, and who had been brought to that condition chiefly by their intemperance."
as faithfully expose the danger of using them, as they would the danger attending any of those amusements against which they never think it inconsistent with their character to protest.*
Mere general exhortations to sobriety, and de
Q. “ Are you aware of Clergymen yielding to those habits ?"
A. “Yes ; I have the pain to know several Clergymen who are addicted to habits of intemperance. I remember one who became a common soldier from such indulgence. I know others who, at present, are filling menial offices from the same indulgence; and I know several who have been excluded from their churches, and are living in disgrace with their relatives and others on whom they depend. And in churches, where the same strict discipline
not exercised over all the ministers, frequent excesses are by
means uncommon.”—Dr. R. G. Dods. Rep. on Drunk., pp. 217—219.
* When the cholera was destroying the bodies of only a few hundreds of our countrymen, there was hardly a pulpit, from which allusions were not frequently made, to what was called, an “awful visitation.” But, strange to say, there are but few pulpits, in which it would be allowed to guard our hearers against coming into contact with strong drinks-poisons, in comparison with which, the deadly seeds of that fearful pestilence were harmless.
It is considered quite consistent with the claims of the Gospel-in perfect congruity with the dignity of the pulpit, for the ministers of Christ, even on the Sabbath-day, to expose, in detail, the evils of the race-course and the theatre, and of other things which have a tendency to demoralize and to destroy the souls of men. For what reason,
nunciations of excess, will not do. The Watchmen of Zion must come to particulars. Nothing is more easy than for the conscience to escape from under a generalizing strain of address; and, if nothing more is done by the ministers of the church, than to warn their hearers of the evils of intemperance, and to urge them to the practice of sobriety, it is to be feared that multitudes will continue, in despite of all such warnings and entreaties, to yield to the deceitful and mighty influence of strong drink.
In the next place, every PRIVATE MEMBER of the church must become a preacher of Total Abstinence to all within the sphere of his influence; and particularly to those who have not yet become intemperate; since, however important it may be to reclaim the drunkard, intemperance can only cease to exist through rescuing the sober from the influence of customs by which their sobriety is endangered. then, should every thing like a distinct reference to the drinking customs of society, be so carefully excluded from the pulpit? or why should they be touched upon with so much tenderness, since all the race-courses, and theatres, and gambling houses in the country, are not producing a hundredth part of the evils which are resulting from intoxicating liquor ? It is this, indeed, which mainly contributes to their evil influence; and it may be fairly doubted, whether they could exist at all, among a people, blessed with the light of the Gospel, and wholly free from the vice of intemperance.
PARENTS must be especially careful to instruct their children, and MASTERS their servants and dependents, in the proper use of intoxicating drinks; and in guarding them against every temptation, by which their own wholesome counsel might be defeated.
TERLY TO DESTROY THE MONSTROUS IDOLATRY, TO WHICH, IN COMMON WITH THE WORLD, SHE
HAS TOO LONG BEEN SUBJECT.
There was a time, and it has not long since passed away, when, through her ignorance of her duty, or through her weakness, or supineness, the idols of the heathen were left in unmolested possession of the hearts of the countless multitudes of their infatuated worshippers : but since the period when the great apostle, as the minister of the Gentiles, began, by his irresistible eloquence, to overturn their authority, until the church was stopped in her triumphant career, by the corrupting, and encumbering influence of worldly honours, riches, and associations, there never was a time in which such mighty and successful movements were made upon the empire of Pagan idolatry as the church is making at the present moment. And why are her movements so vast and prosper
Simply, because the holiest, and most
zealous, and devoted of her members, are united in the work, of conveying the light of life, to those who have been sitting in the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death. True, the glory of her success must be ascribed to Him, without whose blessing no finite efforts can prosper ; but, when was that blessing withheld from any cause, supported by truth and righteousness, and promoted by the combined exertions of his own enlightened, pious, and devoted servants ?
Let her, then, combine her efforts against the idolatry of intemperance. Let her hosts go forth, unitedly, against the idol strong drink-an idol, the abominable licentiousness of whose rites, would cause even Chemosh, the god of the Moabites, to blush; and whose cruelty is such, that it would deem the sufferings which would satiate a Moloch, a Baal, or a Juggernaut, an insufficient and worthless sacrifice !
She cannot devote her PROPERTY to an object, more advantageous to herself, than is the cause of true sobriety. In many cases, we feel ourselves called upon to display our benevolence and zeal, when the welfare of others is the only end at which we aim; but, in destroying the influence of intoxicating drinks, we are erecting safeguards around our characters-our lives—our properties -our homes. We are rendering the security of