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from the great number of places at which spiritous liquors may be procured in small quantities, and from the very low price at wbich they are sold. To the multiplication of such places of resort, there seems to be no end. 'Scarce an alley so obscure or so remote, but we meet with the public license, glittering in letters of gold, beld out, an invitation and a welcome to these thresholds of infamy. It is in such places, that the final blow to sober habits, and consequently to all future respectability and happiness, is too often given. It is here that the drunkard is made. The beginner has no temptation to intoxication in the bosom of his family; and besides, the sense of shame alone, in him who is yet unhardened, would prevent bim from the exposure of his infirmities to his wife and children, little, as he comes at last, to regard it. But in the dram-shop such motives cannot operate; they are at a distance, and he is not sensible of their influence. At the intervals or the conclusion of labour, a sense of weariness seems to ask for that relief, which liquor temporarily affords ; company and association operate as an additional inducement, and the fatal step is taken.
He meets perhaps with those somewhat more advanced than bimself, somewhat more confirnied in their habits; and their example and conversation strengthen the temptation. There is something attractive to vulgar minds; nay, we blush to say it, to those who would consider it an insult to be classed among the vulgar, in the excitement, the hilarity, the jovial recklessness, which are the primary effects of the stimulus of ardent spirits. The young feel too often an ambition to partake in the same kind of enjoyment; they admire the gay and hearty laugh, the ready jest, and even the blasphemies or obscenity which scarcely sound harshly from such merry lips. All this they think cannot be very wrong, for no harm is meant; they imitate the example, and are lost. This evil might certainly be remedied in some measure, by the exercise of public authority. There can be no objection from any quarier, to an adaptation of the number of licenses to the real or supposed necessities or convenience of the com. munity. From no source can an application to authority so properly proceed, as from the General Society; and a measure of this kind is suggested by one of the auxiliary societies.
“We hope we shall not be thought presuming, when we further respectfully submit to the consideration of that Society (the Massachusetts Society) the propriety of an address from their body to the Courts of Sessions in the several counties, and selectmen of the several towns, calling their attention to the manifold evils of intemperance, and soliciting the aid of their influence, and the exertion of the powers with wbich they are entrusted, in checking these evils." p. 19.
Public authority also can interfere to increase the expense of babits of intoxication; and whenever circumstances have rendered this interference necessary to effect an augmentation of revenue, the influence upon the habits of society has generally been favourable. It has been asserted, on good authority, that the number of drunkards and the deaths consequent on intemperance, have considerably diminished in London witbin sixty years; and this change has been attributed principally to the higher prices produced by the increase of duties upon ardent spirits. We are informed also, in this report, that the number of licenses in the counties embraced by their inquiries, was much lessened during those years, in which the prices of liquor were raised by the duties imposed on distilleries. There are surely none so fairly the subjects of taxation, as those who are wasting their substance and their health in this pernicious species of luxury; and yet strange as it appears, there have been no taxes so unpopular, none so unwillingly imposed, or so gladly repealed, as ihose upon ardent spirits.
But to ensure the co-operation of public authority, an influence must first be exerted upon public opinion. There are certain prejudices and customs existing, more or less, in all classes, whose constant tendency, is to keep up the free indulgence in the use of spiritous liquors. Among these we allude particularly to the universal, but most unfounded opinion, that they are necessary to support the strength of those occupied in bodily labour.' It is important, that this mistaken notion should be done away. It would be easy, were this the place for such discussion, to offer sufficient evidence of the total fallacy of the common impression on this subject. But it is certainly very much in the power of the auxiliary societies 10 do away the common prejudices and common practice among the labouring poor, would they only unite and persevere in the resolution, not to allow the use of spirit among those whom they employ as labourers, and never to employ those who wilfully and obstinately persevere in habits of excess.
Many of the customs of civilized and social life, it must be obvious, are of a nature to encourage the vice it is our object to avoid. What these practices are, it is unnecessary to detail; some of them more prevalent in the interior than in our larger towns, are alluded to in the following extract. Speaking of the communication from the Dedham Auxiliary Society, the Report observes :
"Their report expatiates freely on the evils resulting from the perversion of the design of tavero licenses; on the custom too prevalent in that part of the country, of distributing liquors at public sales, and thereby “bribing one to pay more for an article, than in his sober moments he would be willing to give, or inducing him to purchase what he does not want;' on the impropriety of exhibiting a variety of liquors to excite sensual desire, on those occasions when we bid a last adieu to the remains of a departed friend ;' and on the practice of what is called treating, at the election of candidates for any public office, as calculated unduly to influence electors, and as incompatible with pure republicanism.' It concludes, by binding the importance of increasing the influence of precept by that of example. Abstain from all appearance of evil.'"
We are sensible that many are accustomed to think, that all formal attempts for the reformation of the morals of society are hopeless, and therefore useless. But we do not despair. By unremitted exertions, and the constant extension of societies, public opinions and habits will finally be affected. The subject must be frequently and obstinately pressed upon the attention, on every proper occasion, and in every proper way. Temporary want of success ought not to discourage. We must not believe our measures are ineffectual, because we cannot see their effects. The river deposits the alluvia of the mountains for centuries at its mouth, before it rises above the surface of the ocean; but it comes in time to be the seat of vegetation, and the residence of man. If another generation is to feel the effects of our endeavours, they are not therefore less valuable or meritorious. The less our purposes relate to ourselves, the more remote the objects to be benefited by their success, in the same proportion the virtue of our exertions is increased, and their reward will be enhanced.
Reasons offered by Samuel Eddy, Esq. for his opinions, to
the First Baptist Church in Providence, from which he was compelled to withdraw for heterodoxy. Second edition. Jones & Wheeler, 1818. Boston, sold by Wells & Lilly.
To those who consider the doctrine of a Trinity of persons in the Divine Nature as making a part of the system of Christian theology, it must have appeared, we think, a perplexing phenomenon, that it has ever been called in question. Reasoning from the acknowledged principles of the human constitution, we might say that it is just such a doctrine as would be likely to gain and secure a willing reception with the mass of men; just such a doctrine as, if they could not find, they would
make. Not that it recommends itself by any appearance of truth to a sound mind. This it certainly does not. The understanding, fairly exercised upon it, rejects it with as decided a dissent as it would any other of the most express contradictions that words can form. But in matters of religion it is the universal tendency to give excessive exercise to the imagination and feelings. Men love mystery; and so great a mystery relating to the object of worship, is what, above all things, they would enjoy. They delight in the unintelligible ; for it carries to them a show of magnificence. They imagine they do religion the best possible service by multiplying its peculiarities; and they are sensible that, in making it a completely udreasonable thing, they distinguish it at a stroke, most surely and widely, from every other subject with which their thoughts are conversant.
The advocates of the doctrine of a triple division of the divine nature represent the opposition which has been made to it as founded in the natural inclinations of the mind; to us it appears exactly the reverse, and our view is justified by history. Immediate divine interposition had no sooner ceased, than the doctrine of the strict and proper Unity of God, familiarly known in the early ages, was forgotten, and a monstrous polytheism spread itself over the world. It became necessary that a single people, peculiarly privileged and governed, should be made the trustees, so to speak, of a truth which in better times, but not then, men might be brought to receive. Guarded as it was among this people by a most precise and unequivocal revelation, and perhaps still more by their national pride, indulged in calling the only God, the God of their fathers, it remained uncorrupted so long as it was confined to them. But when it was handed over again to the world at large, again it underwent a fortune similar to the first. Experience had taught men not to avoid their error, but only to disguise it. They had learned but to cover up irreconcileable ideas with dark words; to call the self-contradictory, mysterious; and this method made their faith in scripture and their love of their own imaginations friends at once.
We do not mean to say that the persons, who between the first century and the sixth were engaged in framing the received doctrine, were influenced only by the natural love for the incomprehensible. They had more immediate objects ; to reconcile Christianity with the prevailing systems of philosophy, and to remove the reproach of the cross. But the common illiterate people had no such views; and it was only by feeding their taste for the marvellous, that they could be drawn away from the true sense of scripture.
These are the recommendations which the Trinitarian doctrine carries with itself to the mass of men; which aided in causing it to be received at first, and are a wall of fire about it now that it is received. But it leans still more securely, if possible, on foreign supports. Every age that has passed since its reception, has placed it on higher ground. A large proportion of the wise and good men, who have lived in the interval, have lent it the authority of names, which would never have appeared on that side, if they had fallen on better times. It has been infused, with an anxious diligence, into the springs where men go to refresh their faith and piety; and many must drink there, or thirst. It is found in almost all the great establishments of religion and learning, in a close association with what is really venerable and inspiring sheltering itself under their patronage, and demanding honour with their lips. It commands a great share of the influence of the writers and writings of the day. Many defend it, for it is a ready way to popularity and gain; and few assail it, for to assail it hazards both.
The contrast between the condition of this triumphant doctrine, and that of the scripture doctrine of the Unity of God, is so decided (we were about to say so discouraging, but we have not so studied the divine dispensations, as to despair of the final victory of religious truth) so decided that we cannot but feel backward to state it. Not an established church in the world receives it. Not a national institution of learning in the world defends it. It has no great instruments of proselytism in the form of religious charities. It appears on the title page of no tracts, printed in editions such as might supply a great portion of all who read one language. It is no where a recommendation to office or influence; so far from it, that to call a man, a Unitarian, is with many to impeach his piety, and with some, we fear, to question his honesty. It is the plain simple truth of God, and that is all there is to recommend it.
This then is the statement. The received doctrine has a firm support in the natural partialities of the mass of men, and in all the foreign aids which can confirm the authority of an opinion in the public sentiment. Yet so it has happened, (and let those who deny that it is the study of God's word which has produced it, account for the fact) that from the date of the Reformation the doctrine of the divine unity has been continually gaining ground, and is still advancing, conquering and to conquer. If we were inclined to urge its prevalence as an argument for its truth, we might assert without fear of contradiction, that taking from the body of trinitarian Christians only those who have some definiteness in their ideas, who have con