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of the miseries which the intemperate, as fathers, and husbands, inflict on their wretched wives, and children, and, we wish we could not add, as mothers, on their own offspring.
We too often, indeed, meet with that morbid sensibility, which can weep, when hearing of the immolation of some Hindoo widow, while it has no tears, for the tens of thousands of mothers and children, in our own land, who are inhumanly tortured out of existence, to satisfy the ferocious cruelty of beings, who have sacrificed every feeling of humanity to their love of intoxicating drink. At this moment, there is reason to believe, that more sighs and groans are ascending to heaven, from those, in Great Britain, who are writhing with the mental and physical sufferings inflicted upon them, by such beings, than are uttered by all the victims of the superstitious cruelty of the most sanguinary of heathen nations.
We talk also of the licentiousness of the heathen; but here again, we have but little reason to boast of our superiority in virtue. Ignorance and prejudice may induce us, with the Pharisee of old, to thank God we are not as other men; but, it is a humiliating truth, that there are few countries, if any, either savage or civilized, with which we are at present acquainted, in which systematic
debauchery seems to be carried to a greater extent than in Britain.* Our sensualism may be somewhat more secret and refined, than what distinguishes some other nations; but it is not less profligate, and extensive; and the more the history of intemperance is examined, the more clearly we shall be able to trace, a vast proportion of our licentiousness, to this teeming parent of all iniquity.
Intoxicating liquors, by their peculiar action on the animal constitution, force the appetites into premature activity, and, by proportionally weakening the moral sense, become the producers of unhallowed lust; and while we have been wondering at the precocious libertinism of all ranks
* "There are not less it appears than 80,000 females in London, receiving the wages of prostitution, and as many of the other sex, who have abandoned themselves to systematic debauchery. About 400 panders and procuresses live by inveigling girls, between the ages of eleven and fifteen years, for the purpose of prostitution. Within the last eight years, not less than 2,700 cases of disease, arising from prostitution, were admitted into three hospitals, in children between the ages of eleven and sixteen. It is computed that about 8,000 of these victims of pollution die annually; and that the average length of life of such as are entirely devoted to prostitution, is about seven years."—Rev. J. Harris's Christian Citizen; pp. 24 and
of society, we have been busily employed in producing it, by giving our sanction to the habitual use of those drinks, which are as fuel to the fire of every sensual passion.
Until the entire current of human nature shall be changed, or religion shall become essentially different from what it ever has been, it will be no more possible for righteousness to flourish in a region, which is greatly infected with the use of intoxicating drinks, than for the tender productions of the torrid zone to vegetate amidst the snows of Greenland, or for health and energy to be realized beneath the blast of the Sirocco.
That Britain possesses religious advantages, whose value is past computation, must be admitted; but she has long been a nation, awfully distinguished by intemperate drinking, and hence, with all her advantages, she is but just beginning, in earnest, to engage in those efforts by which alone she can be raised to the honour and happiness of being a nation-holy unto the Lord.
We have thus far shown that intemperance contains within itself all the essential elements of idolatry; and that the intemperance of Britain, in particular, is distinguished by all the external characters, that have ever marked the most offensive forms of idolatry-in short, that it is idolatry,
as truly as the worship of Moloch, of Baal, or of Chemosh, is idolatry.
It is in vain to object, that we are nominally and professedly, a Christian people, and, therefore, cannot be justly accused as idolaters. The ancient Jews had not cast off the Jewish name, neither had they openly renounced their allegiance to Jehovah, as the God of their fathers, when they were charged, by their prophets, with committing idolatry, on "every high mountain, and under every green tree.* Self-righteousness may blind us, as it did the Pharisees of old, to our real condition. We may exclaim, "the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we," but this, without altering our position, will only aggravate our guilt, by adding to it the sins of presumption and hypocrisy. We may allow our attention to be diverted from our own inconsistencies, by the claims of Hottentots and Indians, but what will it avail us in the last Great Day, to be able to say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils," if our own characters are unable to endure the scrutinizing eye of our Omniscient Judge! Instead of being welcomed as good and faithful servants, and commanded to enter into the joy of our Lord,
* Jer. iii. 6.
our portion would, doubtlessly, be with hypocrites, and self-deceivers, in the lake which burneth with unquenchable fire!
The great question, we should now be anxious to solve, is what is the duty of the Christian Church, in connexion with this important subject?
It cannot be doubted, that the Church of Christ is appointed to be the resolute antagonist of all that is evil, and the zealous conservator, and promoter of all that is good. To suppose, then, that she has no duties to perform, in reference to this matter, is to overlook her essential character, and to bring her down from the proud eminence of a watchful, and universal benefactress, to the low and worthless condition of an idle and unaffected spectator, of sins and miseries, which she is able, but unwilling to re