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النشر الإلكتروني

CHAPTER IX.

NON-CONFORMITY TO THE WORLD

IN ITS DRINKING CUSTOMS.

“Heaven calls,—and can I yet delay?
Can aught on earth engage my stay?

Ah! wretched, lingering heart!
Come, Lord, with strength, and life, and light,
Assist and guide my upward flight,

And bid the world depart.”

That all true Christians may, in the present state of the country, guard against every thing like drunkenness in themselves, and be not “partakers of the sin” of others in acquiring this sinful habit, they must, also, “not be conformed to this world” in its drinking customs.

These customs may be described as consisting in giving and taking intoxicating drink, of one kind or another, as a beverage or refreshment. While they, also, pervade all the branches of society from the highest to the lowest, they prevail at all times and at all seasons, in all places and in all circumstances. For example, they are common at early and at late hours ; in the morning and at mid-day; in the afternoon and at night; during dinner, and after dinner, if not immediately before dinner; in “the last cup of tea” and at supper; on Sabbaths, as well as on week days; on common Sabbaths and still more on Communion Sabbaths, with their “eke;" at Christmas and at Christenings; at the close of the Old and at the commencement of the New year; at New-hansel and at Old-hansel Monday, and specially, till of late, on Sacramental Mondays.

These customs are, also, common in summer and in winter; in hot and in cold weather; in fine and in foul weather; in the country and in the city; in public and in private; at meeting and on parting; in receiving and on returning visits ; in the parlour and in the drawing-room; in the dining-room and in the kitchen ; on removing from an old dwelling and on “heating" a new one; in the discharge of business as well as in the way of pleasure; in commencing and in closing the labours of the day; in feeing servants and in employing workmen; in beginning and on ending apprenticeships; in entering upon and on leaving places of occupation; at the founding and on the finishing of a building; at the dedication and also at the consecration of a Church; in the workshop and in the washing-house; before a journey and after a journey; in trading as well as in travelling; in buying and in selling; in the market and in

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the manufactory; behind the counter and in the counting-house; in paying and on receiving wages; at raffles and at races; on trips and at trysts; in riding and in driving; in cabs and in coaches; in carts and in carriages, whether drawn by horses or by steam ; in busses and in boats ; on land and on sea; in the camp and on the deep; in foreign climes as well in our own crest-fallen country; in the New no less than in the Old World,

These customs are equally common in plenty and in poverty; in wealth and in want; in prosperity and in adversity; in joy and in grief; in triumphs and in trials; in health and in sickness; when Mondayish and when mirthful; in dulness and in liveliness; at fetés and at fairs ; at feasts and at festivals ; at parties and at “pic. nics ;' at balls and at concerts ; at marriages and at merry-makings; at births and at burials; at baptisms and at banquetings; on private birthdays and on public anniversaries ; at introductory and at valedictory dinners; at ordinary, no less than at extraordinary, and at ordination dinners ; at class and at county dinners; at clerical and at commercial dinners; at theological and at theatrical dinners; at civic and at state dinners; at royal and at imperial dinners; through life and at death.

On these, and countless other occasions, do not members of the Church, and that not a few, vie with the men of the world, and with one another, in doing what is called “justice” to these customs; and on many occasions, is not he who does them “ the greatest justice," deemed the truest well-wisher, or the most loyal subject? Thus, these customs are so many and so mighty, that they may justly be spoken of as being at once a legion and a phalanx, a Briareus and a Hydra. Thus, consequently, intoxicating drink comes to be so frequently used among all ranks, that it may too often be said to be nothing but drink-drink -drink! Thus is not said, as well supposed, that nothing can “go on,” or “get on,” succeed or prosper, without such drink? Thus, is is not regarded as something like oil to keep the machinery of life in motion! Thus, is it not, also, looked upon as a perfect panacea, or factotum; as an article which, by no means, can be dispensed with, and to be in want of which is considered by many shamefully disrespectful ?

No one, indeed, will deny that these customs proceed from the profession of kindly and social feelings; that they are highly and widely sanctioned by human authority; and that they have been shared in and supported, more or less, by all. At the same time, it must be admitted, that they are, strictly speaking, worldly, and not Christian, customs; customs imported into the Church from the world; and that they have been adopted by the best, just because they have become the customs of the country. With the greatest propriety, therefore, it may be asked in our day, are these customs, which have increased to so great a height, such in their nature, and such in their general effects, that they can be regarded as sanctioned by the letter, or spirit, of Christianity; and should they continue to form the exponent of Christian friendship, or the bond of Christian fellowship? When viewed even in the light of reason, are they such as to be worthy of being patronized and perpetuated by true philanthropists ? Especially, when viewed in the light of revelation, are they such as to be worthy of being approved and practised by true Christians ?

While they originate in the way of treating friends and strangers, is not the intoxicating drink by which they are upheld of the most insinuating and destructive nature, when used otherwise than medicinally? More particularly, does not this treating lead, too frequently, at other times, to the tasting of such drink? Does not this tasting, again, although it be only occasionally, lead, too generally, to tippling? And

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