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which divides the moderate from the immoderate
Irinker of intoxicating liquors, it seems we cannot more effectually serve the cause of temperance, than by abstaining altogether from those liquors, except when labouring under such infirmities, and diseases, as may render their medicinal virtues necessary to health and strength.
It must not be forgotten, that intemperance is altogether an unnatural vice. It is not like libertinism or gluttony, which are sinful only, as being the excesses of necessary or lawful appetites ; but, like gambling, it results from what is wholly uncalled for, and artificial. And as gambling may be effectually prevented, by avoiding the amusements which lead to it, so may drunkenness, and all its attendant evils be avoided, by abstaining from the liquors which produce it. • If intoxicating drinks were as indispensable as wholesome food, or if by abstaining from them we should be violating a law of nature, or setting at nought a divine arrangement, we should, certainly have no more right to abstain from them than to commit suicide ;* but since the very reverse of all this has been fully demonstrated, the second great law of Christian duty, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” clearly renders enare covetous, or to the ordinary intercourse of the sexes, because some men are libertines, as object to the common use of intoxicating drinks, because some men are drunkards. Such a mode of reasoning is no better than a pitiable exhibition of folly or prejudice, and is truly extraordinary when adopted, as it is, by men, who denounce card-playing, and the amusements of the ball-room, solely on account of their injurious tendency.
* The writer deeply regrets to say, that he has heard even Christian ministers argue, that we might as well object to the use of food, because some men eat to excess, or to the use of money, because some men are
Dr. Edgar, in his most mystical pamphlet, entitled “ Limitations of Liberty," has attempted to make a great deal of this line of argument; but the learned Professor would have been as usefully employed, in attempting to reconcile his violent attacks upon the doctrine of abstinence from all intoxicating liquors, with his very warm attachment to a society, which insists on total abstinence from some intoxicating liquors. In reference to brandy, gin, rum, and whiskey, however diluted, flavoured, and coloured, provided the names are not changed, the worthy Doctor himself, puts a very narrow, and absolute limit to our liberty; but when we put the same limit to the use of drinks, possessing the same essential principles, and which are producing precisely the same effects, he is wrathfully indignant at our wickedness, or he treats our folly with the most extreme contempt. Truly, if the Total Abstainers are weak, the Dr. himself is a little whimsical, to say no worse.
In objecting to the use of food, money, &c., on account of the abuses to which such things are liable, we should be doing far more harm than good; but it would be difficult tire abstinence from them a matter of indispensable obligation. Could it be proved, that there was a point up to which every man might go, in the use of such drinks, without injury to his own health, or without endangering his own morality, even this would not lessen the obligation of the Christian to abstain from them altogether, when shown that, by doing so, he can most effectually weaken their influence over those who, through physical or moral infirmity, may be unable to confine themselves within the path of safety. On this point we cannot require a more clear and definite decision than that which has been given to us by the pen of inspiration. “It is good,” says the Apostle, “neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."*
To deny ourselves in things lawful, or indifto prove, that any more harm would result from persons, in health, abstaining from Intoxicating liquors, than from opium or tobacco; while no arguments are required to prove that abstinence from those things would be productive of incalculable advantages.
* Dr. Edgar has argued, that because this text was not originally applied to the subject of intempérance, it has nothing to do with it. Such a mode of reasoning, however, is quite unworthy a logician. The passage contains a principle of universal application, namely, that when any ferent, when once they become inexpedient, is as much a matter of Christian duty, as to avoid the transgression of a positive precept ; “Take heed," says the Apostle, “lest this liberty of yours become a stumbling-block to them that are weak.” No Christian moralist has ever yet proved, that there is any sin in card-playing, abstractedly considered. But supposing any number of professing Christians, in a community greatly infected with a spirit of gambling, should refuse to abstain from card-playing, on the ground, that as they were able to play both agreeably and innocently, they were under no obligation, for the sake of others, to refrain from such a source of gratification, would such an excuse, for countenancing a dangerous incentive to vice, be allowed by any denomination of Christians, but such as had cast away the very semblance of wholesome discipline ? It is not, however, admitted, that intoxicating liquors can be taken, as ordinary beverages, without doing violence to the laws of our own physical, mental, and moral nature ;* and, hence, the obligation to abstain from them, rests on the professing Christian with a double pressure—with a weight which every conscience must feel that is not slumpractice which is, in itself, lawful or indifferent, is productive of harm, rather than good, it is right to avoid it.
bering in ignorance, or that has not been rendered callous by the hardening power of sensuality.
. II. SECONDLY. THE CHURCH MUST REFUSE TO AD
MIT TO HER COMMUNION THOSE WHO MAKE AND SELL INTOXICATING LIQUORS FOR ORDINARY BEVERAGES.
In the times of our past ignorance such individuals might be winked at, but since the discovery has been made, that their occupation is destructive to all the vital interests of society, their continuing that occupation, must be pronounced, a flagrant violation of Christian consistency; and, therefore, as utterly incompatible with the Christian profession.
So long as the men who are employed in destroying the fruits of the earth, which God evidently designed to be the food of his creatures, by converting them into poisonous liquors, or the men who are engaged in dealing out those liquors to the injury of the bodies, souls, and circumstances of others, are admitted into the bosom of the church, " the accursed thing” will still remain in the camp of Israel; and it will be in vain to expect, either that intemperance will be materially diminished, or that the church will be favoured with “ times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.”