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distinction between him and the brute. There seems a fatality attending creeds. After burdening Christianity with mysteries of which it is as innocent as the unborn child, they have generally renounced the real mystery of religion, of human nature. They have subverted the foundation of moral government, by taking from man the only capacity which makes him responsible, and in this way have fixed on the commands and threatenings of God the character of a cruel despotism. What a lesson against man's attempting to impose his wisdom on his fellow-creatures as the truth of §.
AN ADDRESS ON TEMPERANCE.
Delivered by request of the Council of the Massachusetts Temperance Society, at the Odrox, Boston, February 28, 1837, the day appointed for the Simultaneous Meeting of the Friends of Temperance throughout the world.
I see before me the representatives of various societies for the promotion of temperance. It is a good and great cause, and I shall be grateful to God, if, by the service now alloted me, I can in any degree encourage them in their work, or throw new light on their path. The present occasion may well animate a Christian minister. What a noble testimony does this meeting bear to the spirit and influences of the Christian faith ! Why is this multitude brought together? Not for selfish gratification, not for any worldly end, but for the purpose of arresting a great moral and social evil, of promoting the virtue, dignity, well-being of men. And whence comes this sympathy with the fallen, the guilty, the miserable 2 Have we derived it from the schools of ancient philosophy, or from the temples of Greece and Rome? No. We inherit it from Jesus Christ. We have caught it from his lips, his life, his cross. This meeting, were we to trace its origin, would carry us back to Bethlehem and Calvary. The impulse which Christ gave to the human soul, having endured for ages, is now manifesting itself more and more, in new and increasing efforts of philanthropy for the redemption of the world from every form of evil. Within these walls the authority of Christ has sometimes been questioned, his character traduced. To the blasphemer of that holy name, what a reply is furnished by the crowd which these walls now contain A religion, which thus brings and knits men together, for the help, comfort, salvation of their erring, lost fellow-creatures, bears on its front a broad, bright, unambiguous stamp of Divinity. Let us be grateful that we were born under its light, and more grateful still if we have been, in any measure, baptised into its disinterested and divine love. I cannot hope, in the present stage of the temperance effort, to render any important aid to your cause by novelty of suggestion. Its friends have thoroughly explored the ground over which I am to travel. Still every man, who is accustomed to think for himself, is naturally attracted to particular views or points in the most familiar subject ; and, by concentrating his thoughts on these, he sometimes succeeds in giving them a new prominence, in vindicating their just rank, and in securing to them an attention which they may not have received, but which is their due. On the subject of intemperance, I have sometimes thought, perhaps without foundation, that its chief, essential evil was not brought out as thoroughly and frequently as its secondary evils, and that there was not a sufficient conviction of the depth of its causes and of the remedies which it demands. With these impressions, I invito your attention to the following topics:–the great essential evil of intemperance— the extent of its temptations—its causes—the means of its prevention or cure. I. I begin with asking what is the great, essential evil of intemperance? The reply is given, when I say, that intemperance is the voluntary extinction of reason. The great evil is inward or spiritual. The intemperate man divests himself, for a time, of his rational and moral nature, casts from himself self-consciousness and self-command, brings on phrensy, and, by repetition of this insanity, prostrates more and more his rational and moral powers. He sins immediately and directly against the rational nature, that divine principle, which distinguishes between truth and falsehood, between right and wrong action, which distinguishes man from the brute. This is the essence of the vice, what constitutes its peculiar guilt and woe, and what should particularly impress and awaken those who are labouring for its suppression. All the other evils of intemperance are light compared with this, and almost all flow from this ; and it is right, it is to be desired, that all other evils should be joined with and follow this. It is to be desired, when a man lifts a suicidal arm against his highest life, when he quenches reason and conscience, that he and all others should receive solemn, startling warning of the greatness of his guilt; that terrible outward calamities should bear witness to the inward ruin which he is working ; that the hand-writing of judgment and woe on his countenance, form, and whole condition, should declare what a fearful thing it is for a man, God's rational offspring, to renounce his reason and become a brute. It is common for those who argue against intemperance, to describe the bloated countenance of the drunkard, now flushed and now deadly pale. They describe his trembling, palsied limbs. They describe his waning prosperity, his poverty, his despair. They describe his desolate, cheerless home, his cold hearth, his scanty board, his heart-broken wife, the squalidness of his children; and we groan in spirit over the sad recital. But it is right, that all this should be. It is right, that he, who, forewarned, puts out the lights of understanding and conscience within him, who abandons his rank among God's rational creatures, and takes his place among brutes, should stand a monument of wrath among his fellows, should be a teacher wherever he is seen, a teacher, in every look and motion, of the awful guilt of destroying reason. Were we so constituted, that reason could be extinguished, and the countenance retain its freshness, the form its grace, the body its vigour, the outward condition its prosperity, and no striking change be seen in one's home, so far from being gainers, we should lose some testimonies of God's parental care. His care and goodness,
as well as his justice, are manifested in the fearful mark he has set on Tthe drunkard, in the blight which falls on all the drunkard's joys. These outward evils, dreadful as they seem, are but faint types of the ruin within. We should see in them God's respect to his own image in the soul, his parental warnings against the crime of quenching the intellectual and moral life. We are too apt to fix our thoughts on the consequences or punishments of crime, and to overlook the crime itself. This is not turning punishment to its highest use. Punishment is an outward sign of inward evil. It is meant to reveal something more terrible than itself. The greatness of punishment is a mode of embodying, making visible, the magnitude of the crime to which it is attached. The miseries of intemperance, its loathsomeness, ghastliness, and pains, are not seen aright, if they do not represent to us the more fearful desolation wrought by this sin in the soul. Among the evils of intemperance, much importance is given to the poverty of which it is the cause. But this evil, great as it is, is yet light in comparison with the essential evil of intemperance, which I am so anxious to place distinctly before you. What matters it that a man be poor, if he carry into his poverty the spirit, energy, reason and virtues of a man? What matters it that a man must, for a few years, live on bread and water ? How many of the richest are reduced by disease to a worse condition than this 2 Honest, virtuous, noble-minded poverty, is a comparatively light evil. The ancient philosopher chose it as the condition of virtue. It has been the lot of many a Christian. The poverty of the intemperate man owes its great misery to its cause. He who makes himself a beggar, by having made himself a brute, is miserable indeed. He who has no solace, who has only agonising recollections and harrowing remorse, as he looks on his cold hearth, his scanty table, his ragged children, has indeed to bear a crushing weight of woe. That he suffers, is a light thing. That he has brought on himself this suffering by the voluntary extinction of his reason, this is the terrible thought, the intolerable curse. We are told, that we must keep this or that man from drunkenness, to save him from “coming on the town,” from being a burden to the city. The motive is not to be overlooked; but I cannot keep mythoughts fixed for a moment on the few hundred or thousand dollars, which the intemperate cost. When I go to the poor-house, and see the degradation, the spiritual weakness, the abjectness, the half-idiot imbecility written on the drunkard's countenance, I see a ruin which makes the cost of his support a grain of dust in the scale. I am not sorry that society is taxed for the drunkard. I would it were taxed more. I would the burden of sustaining him were so heavy, that we should be compelled to wake up, and ask how he may be saved from ruin. It is intended, wisely intended by God, that sin shall spread its miseries beyond itself, that no human being shall suffer, alone, that the man who falls shall draw others with him, if not into his guilt, at least into a portion of his woe. If one member of the social body suffer, others must suffer too; and this is well. This is one of the dependencies, by which we become interested in one another's moral safety, and are summoned to labour for the rescue of the fallen.
Intemperance is to be pitied and abhorred for its own sake, much more than for its outward consequences. These consequences owe their chief bitterness to their criminal source. We speak of the miseries which the drunkard carries into his family. But take away his own brutality, and how lightened would be these miseries. We talk of his wife and children in rags. Let the rags continue; but suppose them to be the effects of an innocent cause. Suppose the drunkard to have been a virtuous husband, and an affectionate father, and that sickness, not vice, has brought his family thus low. Suppose his wife and children bound to him by a strong love, which a life of labour for their support and of unwearied kindness has awakened; suppose them to know that his toils for their welfare had broken down his frame; suppose him able to say, “We are poor in this world's goods, but rich in affection and religious trust. I am going from you; but I leave you to the Father of the fatherless and to the widow's God.” Suppose this, and how changed these rags! How changed the cold naked room ' The heart's warmth can do much to withstand the winter's cold; and there is hope, there is honour in this virtuous indigence. What breaks the heart of the drunkard's wife # It is not that he is poor, but that he is a drunkard. Instead of that bloated face, now distorted with passion, now robbed of every gleam of intelligence, if the wife could look on an affectionate countenance, which had for years been the interpreter of a well principled mind and faithful heart, what an overwhelming load would be lifted from her. It is a husband, whose touch is polluting, whose infirmities are the witnesses of his guilt, who has blighted all her hopes, who has proved false to the vow which made her his ; it is such a husband who makes home a hell, not one whom toil and disease and providence have cast on the care of wife and children.
We look too much at the consequences of vice, too little at the vice itself. It is vice, which is the chief weight of what we call its consequence, vice which is the bitterness in the cup of human woe.
II. I proceed now to offer some remarks on the extent of temptations to this vice. And on this point, I shall not avail myself of the statistics of intemperance. I shall not attempt to number its victims. I wish to awaken universal vigilance, by showing that the temptations to this excess are spread through all classes of society. We are apt to speak as if the laborious, uneducated, unimproved, were alone in danger, and as if we ourselves had no interest in this cause, except as others are concerned. But it is not so; multitudes in all classes are in danger. In truth, when we recall the sad histories of not a few in every circle, who once stood among the firmest and then yielded to temptation, we are taught, that none of us should dismiss fear, that we too may be walking on the edge of the abyss. The young are exposed to intemperance, for youth wants forethought, loves excitement, is apt to place happiness in gaiety, is prone to convivial pleasure, and too often finds or makes this the path to hell ; nor are the old secure, for age unnerves the mind as well as the body, and silently steals away the power of self-control. The idle are in scarcely less peril
than the over-worked labourer; for uneasy cravings spring up in the vacant mind, and the excitement of intoxicating draughts is greedily sought as an escape from the intolerable weariness of having nothing to do. Men of a coarse, unrefined character, fall easily into intemperance, because they see little in its brutality to disgust them. It is a sadder thought that men of genius and sensibility are hardly less exposed. Strong action of the mind is even more exhausting than the toil of the hands. It uses up, if I may so say, the finer spirits, and leaves either a sinking of the system which craves for tonics, or a restlessness which seeks relief in deceitful sedatives. Besides, it is natural for minds of
eat energy, to hunger for strong excitement; and this, when not found in innocent occupation and amusement, is too often sought in criminal indulgence. These remarks apply P. to men whose genius is poetical, imaginative, allied with and quickened by peculiar sensibility. Such men, living in worlds of their own creation, kindling themselves with ideal beauty and joy, and too often losing themselves in reveries, in which imagination ministers to appetite, and the sensual, triumphs over the spiritual nature, are peculiarly in danger of losing the balance of the mind, of losing calm thought, clear judgment and moral strength of will, become children of impulse, learn to despise simple and common
leasures, and are hurried to ruin by a feverish thirst of high-wrought,
elirious gratification. In such men, these mental causes of excess are often aggravated by peculiar irritableness of the nervous system. Hence the records of literature are so sad. Hence the brightest lights of the intellectual world have so often undergone disastrous eclipse; and the inspired voice of genius, so thrilling, so exalting, has died away in the brutal or idiot cries of intemperance. I have now been speaking of the highest order of intellectual men; but it may be said of men of education in general, that they must not feel themselves beyond peril. It is said, that as large a proportion of intemperate men can be found among those, who have gone through our colleges, as among an equal number of men in the same sphere of life, who have not enjoyed the same culture. It must not, however, be inferred, that the cultivation of the intellect affords no moral aids. The truth is, that its good tendencies are thwarted. Educated men fall victims to temptation as often as other men, not because education is inoperative, but because our public seminaries give a partial training, being directed almost wholly to the development of the intellect, and very little to moral culture, and still less to the invigoration of the physical system. Another cause of the evil is probably this, that young men, liberally educated, enter on professions which give at first little or no occupation, which expose them, perhaps for years, to the temptations of leisure, the most perilous in an age of inexperience and passion. Accordingly, the ranks of intemperance are recruited from that class which forms the chief hope of society. And I would I could stop here. But there is another prey on which intemperance seizes, still more to be deplored, and that is Woman. I know no sight on earth more sad, than woman's countenance, which once knew no suffusion but the glow of exquisite feeling, or the blush of hallowed modesty, crimsoned, deformed by intemperance. Even woman is not safe. The delicacy of her physical organisation exposes her to inequalities of feeling, which tempt to the seductive relief given by cordials. Man with his iron nerves little knows what the sensitive frame of woman