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THE TRAFFIC IN STRONG DRINKS IMMORAL IN
ITSELF, AND RUINOUS TO THOSE ENGAGED IN IT.
IMMORAL IN ITSELF.-It is next to impossible to engage in this traffic, as it is now conducted, without sin ; and most of the men who are concerned in it are rendered, by its hardening and demoralizing influence, utterly regardless of the crimes and miseries they are producing.
Wesley saw its immorality, in reference to ardent spirits, and denounced it, with his usual energy and faithfulness. “ We may not sell," he says, “anything which tends to impair health. Such is eminently all that liquid fire, commonly called drams, or spirituous liquors. All who sell them, in the common way, to any that will buy, are poisoners general! They murder his majesty's subjects by whole. sale, neither does their eye pity or spare. They drive them to hell like sheep : and what is their gain? Is it not the blood of these men ? Who then would envy their large estates and sumptuous palaces ? A curse is in the midst of them : the curse of God cleaves to the stones, the timber, the furniture of them! The curse of God is in their gardens, their walks, their groves ; a fire that burns to the nether. most hell! Blood, blood is there; the foundations, the floor, the walls, the roof, are stained with blood. And canst thou hope, O man of blood, though thou art clothed in scarlet, and farest sumptuously every day, canst thou hope, to deliver down thy fields of blood to the third generation : Not so ; for there is a God in hea. ven ; therefore thy name shall soon be rooted out. Like as those whom thou hast destroyed, body and soul, thy memorial shall perish with thee."--Sermon L.
With these words staring them in the face, how is it that we have, now, so many spirit selling, and spirit drinking, members of that society, which boasts of its having the pious, devoted, and venerable Wesley for its founder ? Alas! many of its ministers are, themselves, closely allied to the unhallowed traffic; and, judging from their conduct, there is too much reason to fear, that they would close every chapel in the “ connexion” against the advocates of Total Abstinence, though the eternal ruin of every existing drunkard should be the consequence.
On the subject of wasting or destroying the fruits of the earth, Dr. Paley remarks, “ From reason and revelation, it appears, that God intended the fruits of the earth for man's support; but as he did not intend any waste or misapplication of those productions, such acts are, like others, more expressly mentioned, wrong, as contrary to God's will. Hence the conversion of corn fields into parks for deer, or covers for foxes ; the noncultivation of lands, by parties in possession, or the refusal to let them to those who will cultivate them; the destruction or waste of food, with the view to increase the price of stocks on hand; the expending on dogs and horses the sustenance of man, or the conversion of grain into ardent spirits ; these, and, in short, all acts by which the food of man is diminished, either in quantity or quality, are sinFUL, as opposed to God's desire for the happiness of his creatures.”—Mor. Phi.
The following are the sentiments of many of the mos eminent Christians and philanthropists of the New World
and happy will be the day when the British churches shall be universally impressed with the same sentiments :
“ It is an established principle of law, for the violation of which men have been hanged; that the accessory and the principal, in the commission of crime, are both guilty. If this principle is correct, and applies to divine as well as human law, and if the drunkard cannot enter heaven, what will be the condition of him who is accessory to the making of drunkards? who furnishes the materials, and, for the sake of gain, sends them out to all who will purchase them, when he knows the nature and effects of this employment? Can he enter heaven ?”—Amer. Perm. Temp. Doc., p. 47.
"No proposition seems to me susceptible of more satisfactory demonstration than this,-and I am sure that no person can give it one hour's serious thought without assenting to it,--that in the present state of information on this subject, no man can think to act on Christian prin. ciple, or do a patriot's duty to his country, and at the same time make or sell the instrument of intoxication."Rev. Henry Ware.
“ I challenge any man who understands the nature of . ardent spirit, and yet, for the sake of gain, continues to be engaged in the traffic, to show that he is not involved in the guilt of murder."-Lyman Beecher, D.D.
4. Without a prophet's vision, I foresee the day, when the manufacture of intoxicating drink, for common distribution, will be classed with the arts of counterfeiting and forgery, and the maintenance of houses of midnight revelry and pollution."--Rev. Baxter Dickenson.
“ Over every grog shop should be written, in great
capitals, “ The way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.-Judge Doggett. ..." The committee know of no principle of the Gospel that will justify churches of Jesus Christ in permitting their members, who have opportunity to understand this subject, to continue their work of death."-Amer. Temp. Doc., p. 153.
" And should the church receive from the world those who make it a business to carry on this notoriously im. moral traffic, they will greatly increase their guilt, and ripen for the awful displeasure of their God.”-p. 216.
“ There is a CRUELTY in this traffic, and in its legal sanctions—it is a refinement on cannibal cruelty-a sacrifice to fires, more deadly to body and soul, than were ever kindled by the funeral pile of Pagans.”-p. 383.
" Which does the greatest mischief to the community, the man who kills drunkards, or the man who turns sober men into drunkards; and thus prepares them, as fast as drunkards are removed, to step forward and fill their places, and roll the horrors of drunkenness onward from generation to generation?"-p. 407.
" Who gave you, and who can give you a moral right to pursue a business, which increases fourfold the exposure of our children and youth to become drunkards, and be ruined ?” “ It is a business which moral right forbids. And if you continue to pursue it, you do it in violation of that moral obligation which binds you, as an intelligent, accountable agent, to glorify God, and to do good, and good only, as you have opportunity, to all men ; and which will hold you responsible, to an endless retribution, according to your works."-p. 428.
" If to him who sees his fellow creatures hungry, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and does not, if in his power, minister to their relief, the infinitely merciful Saviour says, “ Depart, ye cursed into everlasting fire; prepared for the devil and his angels," what will he say to those who continue, knowingly and perseveringly, to make it their business to bring such evils upon them? Can they expect to escape the withering indignation of Him, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and who is a just God, as well as a Saviour."-p. 245.
" While professing Christians continue to exhibit the baleful example of tasting the drunkard's poison; or, by a sacrilegious traffic to make it their employment to degrade and destroy their fellow men, those who love the Lord must not keep silence, but must lift up their warning voice, and use all lawful efforts to remove this withering reproach from the house of God.”—p. 243.
II. THE TRAFFIC RUINOUS TO THOSE ENGAGED IN IT. -123 beer-sellers and landlords appeared to be discharged from prison, at the Lancaster July Insolvent Court, before John Greathead Harris, Esq., Her Majesty's Commissioner. From common observation, I should give it as my opinion, that where one goes to prison for debt, nine others, at least, by assignments, compositions, and transfers of various kinds, shuffle through their difficulties, without this prison discipline. If this be true, then, there are no fewer than 1,200 persons who fail in the business of selling intoxicating liquor, in a limited part of this county (Lan. cashire) from one court day to another, being the space of seventeen weeks.”—J. Livesey.
It is admitted that some engaged in the traffic have become rich; but, in the case of many such, the curse of