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Had not this principle been adopted in England, there can be no doubt that it would, soon, have been embraced in America ; for the American Societies, which were founded on the same principle as the British and Foreign Temperance Society, were beginning to discover their want of a more comprehensive and stringent rule, by which to secure the victories they had won.
From the Sixth Report of the American Temperance Society, it appears, that the following resolution was passed in May, 1833 :
Resolved, “ That the vital interests and complete success of the Temperance cause demand, that in all the efforts of the friends of that cause, against the use of ardent spirits, no substitute, except pure water, be recommended as a drink."
On the 25th of December, in the same year, a Convention was held at Jackson, in Mississippi, and on the 7th of January following, at Frankfort, in Kentucky. In Mississippi it was recommended that in the formation of all new Temperance Societies, they should agree to abstain from the drinking not only of ardent spirit, but also of wine.” At Kentucky, “ a Legislative Temperance Society was formed, and the members agreed to abstain from the drinking of both ardent spirit and wine, and also from the traffic in them.” Thus, gradually, were Total Abstinence Societies introduced into both the Old and New World.
That such an innovation upon opinions and customs, which had been almost wholly unquestioned for ages, and such an attack upon interests, which had become of the most formidable character, should meet with opposition, was to be expected, as a thing of course. But with the exception of something very much like snarling vituperation, from the pen of Dr. Edgar, the new Societies have been assailed by nothing of a literary kind, which has been deserving of a serious answer. They are, now, steadily pursuing a most successful career, and unless they allow the father of lies and of discord, to divert them from the great object they have in view, their course is sure to be onward, and more and more triumphant.
Their efforts should now be directed to secure among themselves the most perfect union, and the most zealous co-operation. Without this they may do much, but with it they are invincible. The writer fancies that he has discovered among them too great a desire for a sort of independence, which is fatal to every thing like powerful confederation; and a tendency to consult local interests, and individual opinions, to the neglect of the common good, and of great and generally admitted principles. He will be happy to find that he is wrong; but of this he is certain, that, without more UNION, much of the ground that has been won, will be lost again ; and that much will continue in the enemy's possession, which, otherwise, might be wrested from him.
The cause of Total Abstinence has its foundations too deeply laid in truth and benevolence,—it is too obviously identified with the glory of God, and the happiness of man,
to be materially retarded by any thing, short of the selfishness — the imprudence—the supineness-or the treachery of its professed friends. It is a cause which has already engaged in its behalf an extraordinary amount of talent and active zeal; and it is only necessary for its resources to be well directed, to ensure it a complete and speedy triumph over all opposition ; and to render it, next to the Gospel itself, the most powerful means for securing to the world the greatest blessings it is capable of enjoying.
OF TOTAL ABSTINENCE
RECLAIMING INTEMPERATE CHARACTERS.
If a tree may be known by its fruits, these societies must be placed among the most valuable, that have ever been originated by patriotism, philanthropy, or religion. Their success in reclaiming drunkards has been next to miraculous. It is true, they have applied that remedy for intemperance, which, both reason and revelation had, long ago, pointed out as the only proper one, but it could never have been anticipated that so many would have received it ; for, hitherto, the drunkard has been placed, by universal consent, among the most degraded and hopeless of mankind.
The acute and comprehensive mind of Paley, clearly perceived the importance of the principles on which these societies are founded. When speaking of pledges, he says, “ I own myself a friend to laying down to ourselves rules of this sort, and rigidly abiding by them ; they may be exclaimed against as stiff, but they are often salutary. Indefinite resolutions of abstemiousness are apt to yield to extraordinary occasions, and extraordinary occasions to occur perpetually ; whereas, the stricter the rule is, the more tenacious we grow of it; and many a
man will rather abstain than break his rule, who would not easily be brought to exercise the same mortification from higher motives.”— Chap. on Drunk., Mor. Phi.
Long before Temperance Societies had an existence, Dr. Dwight had laid down the positions, that, “ The man who finds in himself any peculiar relish for spirituous liquors, is bound to abstain from them wholly ;" and that, “ all persons, who have already begun the habit of intoxication, are bound to desist, absolutely, from all use of strong drink." “Every effort,” he remarks, “at gradual reformation will only cheat him who makes it.”
• Hard as the case may be, he must break off at once, or be ruined.” After declaring that the appetite for strong drink is usually “ unnatural, and created by casual indulgence,” he goes on to say,
“Our health, our reputation, and safety, our reason, our usefulness, our lives, our souls, our families, and our friends, in solemn and affecting union, urge, entreat, and persuade us—to abstain. God commands ; Christ solicits; the Spirit of Grace influences us—to abstain.-Sermon cxviii. on Drunkenness.
It is the simple application of these principles, which, under God, has rendered Total Abstinence Societies the the means of reclaiming so many of the most degraded, and wretched victims of intemperance. Seeing that the old pledge was useless," says the Rev. David Charles, of Bala, “ I was compelled from conviction to give it up, and to adopt the new. It is now about two years since we re-commenced our operations, and such has been the result, that not only myself, but thousands of dying drunkards have cause to bless God for inducing us to sign the Total Abstinence pledge.” “Ah! sir, many there are among us who have been snatched as brands from the burning ;' who have been saved from the jaws of death!"
“ This noble institution,” writes the Rev. Lot Hughes, of Beaumaris, “has done wonders in this Principality.
Every branch of the Society brings forth fruit in abundance. In our last County Association the report reads thus :--number of members at present 24,780 ; drunkards reclaimed ONE THOUSAND, at least; members of the Church of Christ, with different denominations, upwards of ONE HUNDRED and FIFTY ! The population of Anglesey is 40,000 ; so you see that upwards of half the population are Tee-totallers !"
In Edinburgh, we are informed by Dr. Ferrier, that about one half the congregation of Mr. Whight, pastor of an independent church, are reclaimed drunkards : and that not fewer than ONE THOUSAND reclaimed drunkards are in the new Edinburgh Society, while the old could scarcely number one.
“ We have now,” says Mr. John Andrews, jun., of Leeds, “ in the town, and neighbouring villages, at least THREE HUNDRED, many of whom have become honourable, consistent, and useful members of Christian churches."
At Halifax, G. B. Browne, Esq., informs us, there are " about one hundred reclaimed characters." At Birmingham, writes Mr. John Cadbury, “
we have HUNDREDS, who were once drunkards, now, not only sober men, but regular frequenters of a place of worship.” “I have in my own employ several men, once the most degraded characters in this town, who are now filling responsible and important situations, requiring great attention and stability.”
“ We have some HUNDREDS of reformed drunkards," says the Rev. F. Beardsall, of Manchester, " and many of them restored to the religious bodies from which they fell."
"Since this system has been in operation," writes Mr.