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respective places. Now, as intemperance is the voluntary subjugation of reason to appetite, it deadens inoral sensibility, and obliterates all distinction between virtue and vice.
Three ways have now been specified, in which, as a nation, we are enfeebled by an intemperate use of ardent spirits ; first, in the term of four years, it produces a waste of property, to the amount of a hundred inillions ; secondly, powers, whether bodily or intellectual, are enfeebled by it to such a degree, as to be rendered incapable of those services and efforts, which might otherwise be calculated upon with confidence; thirdly, by corrupting the public morals, it relaxes or dissolves the only bond, which can retain in one compact, well organized mass, the discordant materials of which society is composed. The last is probably a greater evil, even in a political point of view, than either of the preceding.
Hitherto we have not contemplated the effect which 'intemperance has in shortening human life. On this subject it is indeed impossible to make an accurate calculation. But if we consider that variety of ways, in which it occasions death, the whole number of victims will appear great. Need I mention that broils and affrays, resulting from inebriation, often result either in mortal wounds or immediate death-that many who suffer capital punishment, under the hands of public justice, committed their crimes when liquor had subdued their reason, and inflamed their passions? Need I attempt to enumerate all that variety of fatal casualties, from which persons in this condition are never secure? They may be consumed by the fire, plunged in the water, stiffened by the cold, trampled on by their own domestic animals, which they are no longer able to command, or crushed by the carriage of the unobserving passenger.
In all these instances, the attack made by death, is furious ; and the conquest is soon gained. Others be subdues by regular, gradual advances. By these, liquor is first taken incautiously, next intemperately—the habit is fastened upon them; the whole system is disordered and debilitated; the mental powers decay somewhat more rapidly than those of the body; and, therefore, the animal, neither human, nor wholly brutal, may, for a short time survive the man.
Among those who die thus sinfully and dishonorably, may be found, as has been already suggested, many on whom their friends and society in general had high claims—men, who once had it in their power to serve their families and their country, and, perhaps, for a time, yielded such service, not only by bodily strength and activity, but by intellectual powers of no ordinary worth. In this number are found not only some of the lowest forms, that human nature ever assumes, but merchants, scholars, physicians, counsellors, statesmen; and, it is painful to add, some, who once presented the oblations of Christian assemblies before the throne of the Eternal.
When we consider how various are the ways in which intemperance shortens human life, and reflect on the enormous consumption of ardent spirits in our country, we shall hardly consider that computation as immoderate, by which the yearly victims of this vice are estimated at six thousand. In addition to this, it has heen often observed, that many of the deaths, which in bills of mortality, are attributed to other causes, were indirectly the result of intemperance; as hereby the animal system was predisposed to be acted upon by ordinary maladies. By the intervention of these, the patient is saved the discredit of dying in consequence of habitual inebriation. The remark which the Psalmist makes in regard to transgressors in general, has therefore peculiar emphasis, when applied to the drunkard : Evil doers shall be cut off. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be ; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. He shall fly away as a dream ; yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night.
Let us next consider the difficulty of reclaiming those who have already formed habits of intemperate drinking.
We were, indeed, shown at our last anniversary, by the exhibition of some very interesting facts, that reformation is not impossible. I rejoice that this point is capable of being so satisfactorily established. I am grateful to any person who collects and communicates remarks on such a subject. We are hereby taught that intemperance and reprobatiou are not precisely the same, and that he who is guilty of the one, is not quite as certain of perdition, as he who has already been sentenced to the other. Even this should prevent absolute despondency. Even this should induce the benevolent, assiduously and perseveringly to use, for reclaiming the intemperate, every means which may be suggested by religion, science, or worldly prudence.
But, while we are gratified at being assured that the condition of the intemperate man is not perfectly desperate, it is impossible not to be struck with the paucity of those facts, which show it to be otherwise. Much inquiry, joined to critical observation, will indeed, furnish us with a few instances in which reason has resumed her empire over debauched appetite. But it requires no strong powers of recollection, no ingenious investigation, to find facts of an opposite description. Unsought, they present themselves to the mind in frightful abundance.
The difficulty of subduing a propensity to immoderate drinking, is known by painful experience to many persons, in capacity of parent, brother, or friend. Parents may view with more indulgence than alarm, occasional irregularities in a favorite son. By a repetition of these, some uneasiness is produced in spite of parental partiality. They begin with suggesting cautions, rise to mild remoostrance, and as the case becomes more urgent, they make warm and reiterated appeals to his regard to interest, his love of character, his affection for them, his sense of moral obligation, and the well known effect of irregular habits in shortening human life. They flatter themselves, that all these efforts are not abortive. Some tender emotions, some ingenuous relentings are perceived. These are gladly hailed as the witnesses of penitence, and the harbingers of reformation. Hopes thus suddenly formed, are found to be premature. The anxiety of the parents is renewed and augmented by recent evidence of profligacy in the son. To reclaim him, their affection prompts them to make new exertions--to repeat arguments, which have hitherto been found ineffectual—to exhibit these in new and vaVol. II.
rious connexions. From remonstrance they proceed to entreaty, to supplication, and tears. The old bow before the innocent pray to the guilty.
As a last expedient, they will change his place of residence. New scenes and new companions may be more propitious to virtue ; at least they will exhibit fewer temptations to vice. The experiment is made, and with apparent success. His mind is so occupied with new associations, as for a time, to yield little attention to the cravings of appetite. His friends again indulge a trembling hope, that, notwithstanding past irregularities, all may yet be well. Delightful, but vain illusion! The novelty gradually disappears; but the strength of inclination is unsubdued. The taste, which has been so unhappily formed, is now incorporated into his constitution—it has become a permanent part of his character; it is always ready to be acted upon, when circumstances are presented, favorable to its indulgence. He becomes callous to shame, and deaf to remonstrance. Or, if there are some remains of moral sensibility, to avoid the stings of solitary reflection, he seeks relief in the excitement produced by dissipation. That which he denominates pleasure, is nothing but a tumultuous agitation of the passions. As if visited by the curse of Kehama, “there is fire in his heart, and fire in his brain."
I once knew a young man of reputable connexions, and of more than ordinary powers of mind, who, conscious that he was verging towards intemperance, commenced his professional studies in a place where rural scenes, and the prevailing state of morals, seemed well calculated to cherish sobriety, and repress vice. He profited by his situation, and imagined that his good resolutions were gaining strength. At one disastrous hour, being visited by some of his former associates, he consented to renew, for once, the scenes of their former conviviality. Excessive indulgence was the result. The hours of returning sobriety were spent in self-reproach. He justly considered his recent defection as a fatal crisis in his probation. Having no longer any confidence in himself, and thinking it useless to contend, he yielded to inclination, and became its unresisting captive.
Of the sufferings endured by the parent of an intemperate son, that cruel suspense already suggested, is not the least. His expectations, which, to-day are gathering strength, will be dead to-morrow. With tormenting rapidity, he passes from hope to fear, and from fear to hope. Nor because it will be unavailing, can he divest himself of all anxiety. Natural affection prevents it. He is therefore chained to a load, which is always ready to recoil upon him.
In the case which has been supposed, the disease was not suffered to become inveterate, before remedies were applied. Proportionably greater will be the difficulty of recovery, should the disorder be confirmed by long indulgence. To reclaim the inveterate drunkard, reason acknowledges the inadequacy of her powers. The object of reasoning is to produce conviction. But the sinnner in question is convinced already. With intentions, the purity of which he cannot call in question, you remind him of his estate, already embarrassed and partially squandered ; of his family, either corrupted or impoverished, degraded, mortified, and comfortless-of his limbs, become feeble and tremulous -of his countenance, inflamed, disfigured, and rendered at once the hideous image of sin and death; and of many, whom habits similar to his own, have brought prematurely to the grave; remind him, that in the death of these he has a sure and diresul presage of his own. In aid of all these motives, appeal to his faith in revelation ; point out to him that terrific sentence, which declares that no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God; what have you gained by all this array of motives? He acknowledges that your arguments are conclusive, and that your remonstrances are rational and weighty. He weeps under the mingled influence of terror and self-reproach. Without being able to hide from his eyes the precipice before him, he advances towards it with tottering, but accelerated steps. The grave, ever insatiable, is prepared for him. It shrouds him from
every eye but that of his Maker.
No one will imagine, it is hoped, that my object in thus pre