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could be borne through the dark spaces of uncertainty that lay before you. And yet even here the christian has ground against hope to believe in hope. The promise of daily bread is to him and to his children. Let him but have the faith of the patriarch, and he will not be afraid of evil tidings; and while there be others, who, in the rush of a great commercial storm are melted in their soul because of trouble, and reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits endhe believeth and is calm, and at length finds himself in the desired haven. And we appeal to this worst of seasons; we appeal to a period from the crash and the turbulence and the fearful despondency of which we are yet scarcely emerging-when society has been heaving under the burden of a commerce greater than it can bear, and the surfeited and overladen world has been rolling back upon its authors the produce of their own frenzied speculations, when the proudest of our great trading establishments have toppled to an overthrow, and strewed the face of an ocean that is still laboring with the ruins and the fragments of shipwrecked ainbition-we are confident that even in the midst of such a history as this, there is not a house we can enter, nor a family from which we can obtain the record of all their vicissitudes and all their vexations, where we shall not find a trophy of the faithfulness of God—where up to the extent of his own engagements, which is what things we absolutely stand in need of,—and why care we for the rest ? Has he not ministered subsistence and safety to all who put their trust in him ?—so that here is an ever-recurring topic for the exercise of faith; and in behalf of God do we affirm, even in the unlikeliest and most threatening of all periods, that as the faith so will be the fulfilment.
There is a time when adversity brings a man so low, as to strip him of more than his all; and when it places him before the tribunal of his assembled creditors; and when justice bids a faithful account and a full surrender of all that belongs to bim; and when nevertheless, by an act of dexterous and unseen appropriation, he may retain a something with which he links the future subsistence of his family. Now this is his appointed sacrifice. This, in despite of all fond anticipation in behalf of his prospects, and of all relentings on behalf of his children, it is his duty to give up. His business is to discharge himself of every item of God's will, and to embark himself with full reliance on God's promises. This is the trial both of his integrity and of his faith; and on the altar of truth it is his part to deposit an entire article, and to bring forward every secret and untold offering to the light of an open manifestation. This we would call the triumph of faith over vision, and of trust in God over the apprehensions of nature; and the unseen Witness, who all the while is most intently looking on, can out of the infinity of means which he has at command, again bring sufficiency at his door ; can fill him with all that peace of contentment, which with godliness is great gain, and bless with the light of his approving countenance that humbler walk to which he has descended; can throw a sweetness and a shelter around him that perhaps he never felt in the loftier exposures of society; and irradiate his more modest and homely dwelling place with a hope that beams beyond the grave, and soars above all the changes of his fleeting and uncertain pilgrimage.
THE PLEDGE-AND THE REASONS FOR IT.
By the term beverage, we understand a common daily drink-a treat ; -or, as the word strictly implies, a drink between meals.
Against any reasonable or proper use of intoxicating liquor, we are in no degree pledged. For any such use, we may, if we please, even traffic in the article ; for such use we may furnish it to others; and such use of it, we are in no way required to discountenance. It is against the use of intoxicating liquor, as a beverage, and against this use of it only, that we bind ourselves in adopting the pledge of this society.
We believe, indeed, there are several uses to which intoxicating liquor may be properly applied ; that certain kinds may be thus employed for scientific purposes; others for medicinal purposes ; and pure wine, or " the fruit of the vine,” for sacred purposes.
All this we have never pretended to question, and with all this, our pledge and the agreement we enter into in adopting it, have nothing whatever to do. These uses of alcoholic liquor are in all respects proper, because they are necessary, — and because that necessity is always defined and established by competent authority. In neither of these cases do we employ the article as a beverage ; for even in the two latter, we use it as we would use any other prescription ; not from a love of the thing itself, nor for the gratification it may afford us; but for strictly justifiable objects, and in obedience to directions which we are not at liberty to disregard.
In adopting the total abstinence pledge, then, we relinquish the use of alcoholic liquids for all unnecessary purposes; and we believe, as our pledge implies, all purposes unnecessary, except the three just mentioned, viz. scientific, medicinal and sacred. Any other use, whether moderately or otherwise, of any intoxicating liquor, as a drink, we consider to be the use of it as a beverage; and all such use, together with whatever tends to sanction or encourage such use, we agree for ever to abandon, and for ever to discountenance, both privately and publicly.
The foregoing is a very brief, but, it is believed, correct statement of the obligations imposed by the total abstinence pledge,-a pledge so called, because it requires the similar disuse not merely of some but of all intoxicating drinks.
The reasons enumerated in this pledge, and recited to justify the principle of it, will next demand our attention. These reasons are as follows: because “ the use of intoxicating liquor, as a beverage, is not only needless, but hurtful to the social, civil, and religious interests of man; because it tends to form intemperate appetites and habits; and because, while it is continued, the evils of intemperance can never be done away.'
Here, indeed, is an array of motives for abandoning a pernicious practice, worthy the serious consideration of every man who regards either himself, his country, or his God. Now, are these reasons true, or are they false ? Are they founded on fact—the result of long and fatal experience; or are they the baseless imaginings of overheated fancy? Would they were! Many a fond hope blasted, would now have been realized; many a bitter cup of domestic sorrow would never have been tasted; and many a heavenly lyre, now unstrung, would have gladdened the abodes of the holy and the blest! That these reasons, however, are truths-melancholy truths—the sufferings of thousands incontrovertibly testify.
But what is it that our pledge pronounces both“ needless and hurtful ?” Is it the mere use in itself,—the proper use of intoxicating liquors ? By no means. It is, emphatically, the use of such drink as a common beverage. And will any one doubt the correctness of this assertion ? Will any one at this day question whether for persons in health, such use of alcoholic drink is needless ? If needful, by what authority is such need of it established ? Is it by reason, or experience, or the word of God ? No. Need, alas, is too often nothing more than a desire ; and desire, the result of habitual indulgence. Could intoxicating liquor possibly allay thirst; could it invigorate the human frame in health, and render it more capable of enduring fatigue, exposure, and hardship, there might be some plea for other uses of this article besides those which our pledge allows. But alcoholic drinks of every description, instead of allaying thirst, invariably increase it ; and instead of adding to the healthful vigour of the human frame, always diminish it'; and thus prove,—what is now very generally conceded,—that there are no circumstances of continued trial, either bodily or mental, in which we cannot, in health, accomplish much more without intoxicating liquor, than with it. The claim of fashion on the needful use of it, as a treat, is too contemptible for serious notice. Such drink, therefore, as a common beverage, is wholly needless.
It is also hurtful.” That distilled liquors so used are indeed hurtful, and that they are productive in the first place of physical injury, is a position which no longer requires proof or admits of controversy. That fermented drinks, also, when similarly employed, cause like injury, is susceptible, in our view, of abundant confirmation. Both, it is true, possess medicinal properties, and so does arsenic ; but a continued though moderate use of either destroys its salutary influence, and renders it in sickness as in health a slow but virulent poison. Alcohol in any form and for any purpose, as a drink, is extremely insidious and powerful ; its ability for good or evil depending, of course, on the amount of it contained in the article employed. In brandy the proportion of alcohol is about one-half; in strong wine about one-quarter. Now, if the human system in health is no way benefitted, but actually injured by alcoholic stimulus in some form, there can be no doubt that an equal amount of the same ingredient in any other form will produce a like effect. The separate influence of the same principle in both, where both are unadulterated, may be in some measure modified by the nature of other ingredients peculiar to each ; yet both are stimulants affecting the human system alike; both produce similar diseases; originating some, we might not suffer,-aggravating others, to which we are subject,--and counteracting, in all, the influence of remedies otherwise capable of affording relief.
Is not, then, the common use of any alcoholic drink both needless and hurtful ? And yet the mere physical or bodily injury sustained from it is of little comparative account. The mischief, unhappily ends not here; but the unjustifiable practice we oppose, will be found in all its ten
dencies to be “evil, only evil, and that continually.” Among the consequences most to be dreaded, and most certainly accompanying the habitual use of intoxicating liquor, is one in a great measure peculiar to alcoholic drink, and one which any such drink has the power of producing. No matter by what name that drink may be recommended to your favour ; no matter whether it be the fruit of the still, of the vine, or of the orchard; no matter whether it contain fifty or only five per cent. of the intoxicating principle; this consequence will assuredly follow its regular, continued use. And this consequence is an appetite for more of the same,-an appetite which no other ordinary drink ever creates,and an appetite too which no indulgence can satisfy, but which every gratification tends only to increase. Hence it is that the use of intoxicating liquor, as a beverage, becomes chiefly and essentially injurious ; for, when this insatiable appetite has at length been formed, the next last advance, from moderate to excessive indulgence is easy, natural, and often inevitable. The mind then swings clear of its moorings; the heart already hardened, becomes insensible to reproof; the ties of nature cease to influence; and home, country, heaven, are names without a meaning. All this, however, is not the immediate result of a single act of unnecessary gratification ; but of a continued series of such acts. It is by degrees-moderate at first—that man finally attains the consummation of his infamy. Be assured no drunkard lives who was not once a moderate drinker : and no moderate drinker lives who may not yet become a drunkard. The cause, then, the primary cause of the whole evil, is the unnecessary, though moderate use of intoxicating liquor."
RECOLLECTIONS OF MY FATHER,-No. VIII.
Perhaps few individuals paid more devout attention to the first day of the week than my father. When “speaking our own words, and doing our own actions,” on that day, he would often say,—"O how unlike the sabbath !” and introduced proper subjects for conversation. The sacred evening was the most delightful in the week, the best of all the seven. He spoke especially on such occasions of the kindness of divine providence in bygone days, as well as of the wonders of redemption-always adverted' to the rapidity with which the sabbath passed away, and looked forward to the period when the last one would come. He was not above twice out of the house of God for upwards of half a century, He could have had situations of emolument on the condition of transacting the least portion of secular business on the Lord's day, such as replying to a letter, &c, and on one occasion, when altogether dependent upon literary efforts for the support of an infant family, he refused on this account a profitable engagement. In both of his published volumes the sabbath hath a prominent place.
Can you treat with scorn that authoritative precept so universally binding, — Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy? wantonly contemn that holy day, with the doleful end of the man found
gathering sticks before your eyes ? Can you thus set your face against the heavens, having full in your view all the judgments written in the word of God, that were inflicted on his ancient people for not hallowing his sabbaths ? Or, which is a high aggravation of your sin, have you heard of the Saviour of the world, --of his tasting death for every man, -of his sleeping in the dust of the earth on our account; and can you let that blessed day on which the Prince of life rose and revived, go
into total, into perpetual oblivion ? Is this your kindness to your best friend ? Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? There is no sunday kept here." Can we give you credit ? Is not that island a gem in the British crown? Does it not bow to the sceptre of a christian, nay, of a protestant empire? Have British laws concerning the sabbath no place in your code; or if they have, with the awe of the Supreme, have you cast off the fear of human legislators ? Are you so inconsistent as to deplore the want of a religion confessedly false in a neighbouring nation, and at the same time trample upon the express precepts of the true ? When milder arguments cannot prevail, must French atheists be silenced with the eloquence of artillery,--with the cutting persuasion of the sword,--and shall you be permitted with impunity practically to follow their steps ? Shall we thus argue for social order in another nation, and allow the great bond of society, the chief inducement to good order, to be treated by ourselves with scorn ? *** “ No sabbath!” How much better to want almost every thing else! When this is given up, together with that which is connected with it, what have you that is worth retaining? If you have not a sabbath here, do you 'suppose that you shall enjoy one hereafter? It is for such that there remaineth a rest, or the keeping of a sabbath, in heaven? Have you no rest from business, or from carnal pleasure, during your short stay in the world ? and is it probable that you will find rest in that which is to come, though you seek it carefully with tears ?
Are you surrounded with many and strong temptations ? Commit yourself to him who can keep you in the hour of temptation. Consider the worth of the soul, the shortness of your time, and the importance of your work for eternity. Think on these things always—consider them especially on that holy day which is according to your own information, practically abolished.” *
“ But even on the head of gain, you deceive yourself. Your usual customers would purchase the same commodities on a lawful day. Encroaching on holy time does not add to their consumption, and it cannot increase your profit, if it draw some customers to your shop, this practice will make others supply themselves elsewhere. The gain, if gain it could be called, is on their side, and not on yours. Your gold and your silver, thus earned, is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Renounce, therefore, without delay, renounce with weeping and supplication, this unhallowed practice. If you dread poverty approaching as an armed man, if you dread bankruptcy, renounce it. Remember the sabbath day
Series of letters and Essays on important subjects. To a young man in Jamaica, on the state of cliristianity in that island. vol. 1. 1799.