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the temples which are devoted to his more public service, and assisting his worshippers to make their usual libations to his honour. Sometimes, like the Bacchanalian priests of former ages, they are found bringing to their assistance the charms of music, and of dancing, aided by the ensnaring influence of the wretched and degraded courtesan; thus, by the most powerful enchantments, endeavouring to secure their dominion, over the enslaved and miserable devotees of their abominable idol.*
Of the value set upon this priesthood, or of
*"I have visited most of the public-houses at the Eastend of London ; and I suppose there are not less than twenty of those houses, where, at the back of the ginshops, there are what are called “ long rooms ;' those long rooms will contain from 100 to 300 persons, and every evening almost those rooms are full of sailors and girls of the town, and a class of men, principally Jews, called crimps. I have been in those rooms at ten and eleven o'clock at night, and the whole company, perhaps 200 or 300 persons, have been drinking and dancing, till the poor fellows are in a most dreadful state.
It is a very common practice for the girls to get various articles, such as laudanum, and other drugs, put into the liquor of the sailors, who thus become completely intoxi. cated. They are thus robbed of every penny they possess. I have known instances of men being thus robbed of 301., 401., or 501., on those occasions." -Mr. Mark Moore's Evidence, Rep. on Drunkenness, p. 1.
their hold on the affections of the people, some idea may be formed, from the enormous amount of the oblations with which they are endowed. At least fifty millions, per annum, are devoted to their süpport-an amount, in all probability, greater than was ever expended, in one year, in the maintenance of all the idolatrous superstitions of the ancient world, or than is, now, absorbed by the priesthood of every heathen nation under heaven. These priests and priestesses are also distinguished by an almost endless variety of gradations. Some of them, like the princely brewers, and distillers of the metropolis, rank with the magnates of the land; and, though their occupation is to perpetuate a monstrous delusion,* and, as far as their influence extends, to spread disease, and crime, and poverty, and death, are permitted to share in the highest honours of the State. Others, such as waiters, bar-maids, and pot-boys, are engaged in the most menial offices, and, though infinitely less injurious to the world than their wealthier coadjutors, and though quite as necessary to the completeness of their order, have no honour, and but little respect.
* The delusion of supposing that intoxicating liquors, of any kind, are to be ranked among the necessaries of life, or are in any way beneficial to those who are blessed with health and strength.-See appendix C.
III. THIRDLY. THE IDOLATRY OF BRITAIN IS DIS
TINGUISHED BY ITS NUMEROUS RITES, CEREMONIES, AND SYMBOLS.
Some systems of idolatry have been marked by their simplicity, and others by their elaborate, and complicated structure. The systems of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, were of the latter kind; and the idolatry of modern India resembles them; but where shall we look for a more varied form of idolatry, or one more closely interwoven with all the affairs of civil life, than the intemperance of Britain.
The Symbols of it are to be found in almost every house. Even in the habitations of the professing followers of Christ, may sometimes be seen the carved, and pictorial representations of the god of this idolatry ; while other signs of his influence are found, glittering in gold, and silver, and crystal, and china, on almost every table and sideboard of the land. The poor of the Christian church are too often grudged the few pence, which contribute to smooth their rough and thorny path :—the claims of a perishing world are altogether put aside, by multitudes who bear the Christian name, or are met, hy the reluctant bestowment of a paltry shilling, while no expense is spared in showing their devotion to strong drink, by not only furnishing their houses with the drink itself, but with the most costly emblems of their devotion.
The Rites and Ceremonies of this idolatry are too numerous to be detailed. - They have mixed themselves up with all the most admired courtesies of public, and private life; and, like the superstitions of Paganism, have rendered themselves more or less necessary to the completeness of every ordinary transaction. Nay, they have become themselves the most hallowed usages of society ;* so that the man who refuses to observe them, is, by many, far more abhorred, than the man who blasphemes his Maker. We are no sooner brought into the world, than the event must be celebrated by intemperate drinking, if not by outrageous drunkenness; and, as if a God of infinite purity, and a god of the foulest sensuality, could be acceptably worshipped, at the same time, even the ordinances of our holy religion are frequently connected with the most shameful orgies.t
* See appendix D. + Among the lower orders, in this country, nothing is more common than for a baptism to be accompanied by rioting and drunkenness, though, on such an occasion, intemperance is far from being confined to the humbler ranks; and it is well-known, that in Scotland, a commu
As we advance in our earthly career, we are required to stop at every stage of it, and to take a part in some rite or ceremony of our national idolatry; until, at length, we come to be fully impressed with the delusive notion, by which millions before us have been deceived and ruined, namely, that we were chiefly sent into the world to drink—and die!
These drinking usages are not to be regarded as harmless customs, which in deference to those who lived before us, and by whom they were established, it would be unwise not to comply with, but as, at once, the most humiliating proofs of our national idolatry, and the most powerful sources of the corruption, and misery it involves. Alas! it would be well if those observances were .confined to the open and avowed votaries of
nion service has long been considered, by many, a signal for intemperate drinking.
6. The lads and lasses, blythely bent,
To mind baith soul and body,
(See Dunlop's Drinking Usages, p. 56.) In like manner a confirmation, in the Established Church, has too often, and particularly in the rural districts, given rise to scenes far more calculated to obliterate every holy impression from the mind of a youthful disciple, than to establish him in the faith and hope of the Gospel.