« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
civil protection doubly sure ;* and are opening for ourselves, as well as for our children, sources of future wealth and enjoyment.f · Let her employ the PRESS, that mighty instrument for either good or evil, in the dissemination of works, bearing on every part of the great object to be accomplished, and suited to every class and character. Thus, as the darkness of the night recedes before the light of day, the evils
* A respectable merchant, in one of our principal cities, said, “ I shall have reason to remember the Temperance cause as long as I live. Had it not been for that, I before now, should have been a drunkard.” On relating this fact to a merchant, in another city; “ And so," said he, “ should I; I was on the brink of ruin ; but it saved me." And the grace of God came in, and he it is believed, was doubly saved. “Yes,” said he, with grateful emphasis, as he looked on his wife and children, “ and I will give a hundred dollars a year, to spread the Temperance Reformation through the country.--Amer. Temp. Doc., p. 40.
+ The incendiarism, and, consequently, the awful destruction of life and property, which attended the Bristol riots, was solely the result of drunkenness. Most of the accidents which occur to public conveyances, both by land and water, may be traced to the same cause : and by far the greater part of the business of our Judges and Magistrates consists in executing the laws which the connexion between intemperance and crime has rendered necessary.“ See Parl. Rep. on Drunk. Passim.
which have arisen, out of our past ignorance, will be chased away by the advancing beams of knowledge.*
Let her also send forth her TEMPERANCE MisSIONARIES, to carry her principles where they cannot by other means be conveyed. “Faith cometh by hearing.”—The living voice has long enough been the charm which has riveted the chains of tyranny, error, infidelity, and superstition. Let it now be employed in the noble work of liberating a great nation from the delusions which, for ages, have enslaved it! Hitherto, Britain, through the oppressive influence of her drinking customs, has been like a strong eagle chained to a rock. Let those customs be but universally abolished, and she would soon soar far above all competitors, and become, indeed, the wonder and admiration of the world !
* The influence of the press has, yet, done comparatively little to aid the cause of Temperance. That some good has been effected, by means of Tracts, &c., is admitted ; but Learning and Genius have not condescended, except to a very limited extent, to employ their pen on its behalf. Hitherto, the foolish things of the world have been chosen to confound the wise. Still, the writer would be happy himself, to retire wholly from this field of labour ; and, knowing that it was occupied by men of mightier minds, to devote himself to pursuits, much more within the range of his feeble efforts.
FINALLY. LET THE CHURCH MAKE THE CAUSE
OF TEMPERANCE A MATTER OF SPECIAL SINCERE AND EARNEST PRAYER.
“ In everything,” says the Apostle, “ by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God."* “ If ye shall ask anything,” says Christ, “in my name, I will do it.”+ Here we have as direct an injunction to pray for the speedy deliverance of the world from the idolatry of intemperance, as from any other species of idolatry; and, at the same time, an encouragement to believe that our prayers will be answered.
In all ages of the world true piety has displayed itself in expressing a sense of dependence on the Most High, for success in every lawful undertaking. Even when the means, by which we might hope to avert an evil, or to obtain some desired blessing, seem to be denied us, it is still our privilege to supplicate the aid of the Almighty, believing, that “ He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."
But how has the church acted in reference to intemperance ? She has sent her missionaries to convert the heathen from their idols of silver and of gold, and has set apart seasons in which to pray that the blessings of heaven may attend
* Phil, iv. 6. † John xiv. 14. Heb, xi. 6.
them. She has devoted her energies to the emancipation of the slave from civil bondage ; and has deemed it consistent with her most sacred obligations, to deprecate slavery, and all its attendant evils, both in the sanctuary and at the family altar. When pestilence has visited our shores she has made it a matter of special prayer that the plague might be averted from our dwellings. But, in reference to intemperance, though involving all the essential principles of the foulest idolatry—though, in itself, the worst form of the most degrading, and cruel bondage—though far more destructive than pestilence, war, and famine, when combined, she has, for ages, rarely presented a special petition to the Father of mercies, that he would be pleased to deliver us from this mighty and complicated evil.
The reason of this neglect is obvious. Having been enticed into a close alliance with the enemy, against which she ought to have been strenuously contending, she, naturally, put off the Divine armour, and laid aside the heavenly weapons, by which alone her warfare against “spiritual wickedness in high places,” could be rendered successful.
But let her prayers now come to the assistance of her efforts, and let her efforts be steadily directed against the evil in question, and all will yet be well. True, the past history of intemperance can never be blotted out. The innumerable victims which this soul-destroying sin has consigned to the regions of the lost, can never be recalled. But the future may be made to wear a brighter aspect. Many, who are now in the way which leads to everlasting death, may be arrested in their career of danger, and be led into the path of safety and of happiness; and, through “the good hand of our God upon us,” all may be shielded from temptations, which none can combat, and be sure of victory.
Happily, there are many, who believing that “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” are earnestly praying, that true temperance, as a part of real godliness, or one of the fruits of the spirit, may, ere long, universally prevail. And, when once the entire Christian church shall be roused to the performance of this sacred duty, we shall have reason to anticipate the speedy deliverance of the world, from one of the most fearful consequences of the Fall, and our own beloved land, in particular, from the greatest obstacle in the way of its real and permanent prosperity
* James v. 16.