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will persevere. Its long tried friends will not forsake it; new coadjutors will step forward with their aid; and that watchful and kind Providence which has hitherto smiled upon its efforts, will not suffer the stream of its bounty to exhaust the springs from which it flows.
Language thus confident will not be deemed misplaced, if, in conclusion, I call your attention, in few words, distinctly to its object. If there be one class of individuals whose portion of the common afflictions of life, more especially commends them to the sympathy of Christian bosoms than another, it is precisely that class for whose relief this society exists. No condition presents an image of loneliness like that of the widow; or of destitution like that of the fatherless. Bereft of their protector, their counsellor, their guide, where can a destitute mother and her orphan children look? On whom can she repose when the centre of her affections is gone? To whom direct her infant charge for succour when their parent is committed to the grave? And if that parent have been a holy man of God, the more irreparable their loss. Accustomed to the instructions of such a teacher, who can supply his place ? Deprived of the prayers of such an advocate, what voice can intercede for them in the deserted closet, or guide their devotions at the family altar? When that smile is withdrawn in which the innocence of childhood loved to disport; when those lips are silent on which the listening family-group had been wont to hang with infantile delight, while they poured forth streams of entertainment and knowledge; when those eyes are closed, from whose mild lustre a mother's heart caught the inspiration of gladness ; when that arm lies nerveless on which she had so often leaned with fond affection, as they walked in company to the house of God; when a cheerless void occupies his place, whose was the presiding mind, and the dignified demeanour, that constituted the stay and the glory of the household; when a bereavement so complicated, a calamity so overwhelming is sustained, who can wonder at the exclamation, “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me!" It is yours, then, my Christian brethren, the patrons and supporters of this institution, to pour the balm of comfort into this disconsolate bosom. It is yours to succour these destitute orphans. You step forward at such a time, and offer the substantial proof of your generous sympathy. Your hearts compassionate the distress of the widow, and your seasonable bounty comes like a messenger of mercy to fulfil His promise, who hath said, “ Leave thy fatherless children, I will pre serve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me."
THE PACT. EVIIS, AND REMEDY OF DRUNKENNESS.
RBV. J. M. RODWELL, A.M.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH, SAFFRON HILL, APRIL 5, 1835.
“ An enemy hath done this.”—MATTHEW, xiii. 28.
It is at once an humbling and an awful sight, to look back upou the time that is past, and to see what misery, what havoc, and woe, sin has brought into the world. And equally humbling it is, to look around us now, and to see the dark tide of evil still Aowing on-to see the power of pride, of malice, of wrath, of all evil, still holding their ancient sway over the heart of man. Look where you will, in the history of every nation that has ever flourished, look at the domestic annals of every family, look at the individual histories of each single heart, and what an awful picture is brought before you, of rebellion against God, of unkindness to man, of injustice to ourselves : how fearfully does it urge upon us the truth of the Scripture statement, that “the carnal heart is enmity against God;" that men “ know not the way of peace," that they have “ all gone out of the way, and that none is righteous, no not one."
True there has been some good seed sown in the wilderness; and here and there, where the grace of God, and the knowledge of a Saviour have visited the heart of man, there has been a green and a shady place in the midst of this howling wilderness. But what a harvest of tares has ever been with the wheat ! What a mixture of much evil with little good. How often has the darkness seemed ready to overwhelm the light! So that wherever Christ has had his elect, there also Satan has had his thralls, his slaves and votaries, in still greater abundance. And an easy, though painful—a startling, though profitable, task would it be, to trace out each form of evil; to shew how it exists in the heart of man, against light, warning, and mercy, and Gospel grace; and to prove that “an enemy hath done this " We might drag into light the various refuges of lies, to which men will trust for salvation; to the mercy of God, without knowing him in his dear Son; to a trust in their own righteousness; to a proud ser
sense of their superiority over others; to a late and death-bed repentance: and which of these is not the act of the enemy of our souls, and calculated to ruin our present peace and eternal prospects ?
But it is 'not my intention now, to call your attention to the parable before us, nor to the general fact of the corruption of the human race. We are not now alout to dwell on the power, and subtlety, and deceitfulness of sin in general ; but, by a plain statement of plain facts, to draw your minds to one
most alarming and fearful aspect which sin assumes, and to the remedy which has been proposed as a cure to check the growing evil. Now if there be any one sin, of which, more than another, it may be said,
an enemy hath done this," it is the sin of drunkenness. There was, indeed, a time, when the world was filled with violence; at another time it turned aside, and was wholly given to idols : but now, of our country, and of many others too, it is awfully true that their belly is their god, and almost every thing is sacrificed to the love of strong drink. If any one doubt it, let him, as a sample, cast his thoughts over this metropolitan city, and think, which, at this present moment, are the most numerous—the worshippers of Jehovah in the temple, or the drinkers in the public-houses. Aye, brethren, and therefore it is time we “cry aloud and spare not, and lift up our voice like a trumpet, and shew our people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sin.”
First, then, we are to consider, the fact, that drunkenness is common. Secondly, the evils of drunkenness. Thirdly, the remedy proposed. And it is to this latter point that we shall principally direct your attention
Now upon the first point, that DRUNKENNBSS IS COMMON, you need, alas, but little from me to teach you that. And it ought to make us blush for our characters as Englishmen, when we reflect, that this country, which yields in Christianity to none among all the nations—that England, the land of liberty, the citadel of freedom, the land of arts and sciences —it is, I say, a humbling
I thought, that England-Protestant England-is, with all her blessings, the land of drunkenness. Even the blind followers of the impostor Mahomet-even the idolatrous Hindoo-can set us an example it would be well to follow. Even bigoted Spain, and infidel and thoughtless France, are Temperance itself compared with us. There is no nation under heaven more infamously disgraced, more deeply tarnished with the sin of drunkenness, than our own. It meets us, go where we will : it insults us on God's holy day; it stares you in the face as you go to the temple of your God. You may trace it, with all its wretchedness and misery, in the abodes of the working classes : you will find it in the dwellings of the middling classes, in the mansions of the great; though doubtless of late years, it has much decreased among the educated and respectable.
But, that you may know that matters have come to a most awful and alarming crisis, I will confine myself to a statement of plain, undoubted, and well authenticated facts. By a recent statement, and that, we fear, considerably short of the reality,) “ There are in London and its suburbs, five hundred thousand Sabbath breakers, living in total neglect of religion, without God, without hope, and spreading the plague of ungodliness to all around them. Ten thousand of these are devoted to play ; above twenty thousand are addicted to beggary: thirty thousand are living by theft and fraud : twenty-three thousand are every year picked up, senseless and helpless in the streets through strong drink. Above one hundred thousand are habitual gin-drinkers ; and about one hundred thousand more systematic and abandoned profligates *."
I might bring before you a statement, almost as alarming, in regard to other great towns, and the rural districts in the three kingdoms. But I confine myselt
* The Hox. and Rev. B. W. NOEL's Letter to the Bishop of London.
to the metropolis : and you may be startled to hear, that the number of public houses and gin-shops is four thousand and seventy-three, besides one thousand one hundred and eighty-two beer shops ; and great numbers of coffee-shops, many of which are said to be at present worse than the worst public-houses, as schools of profligacy. Not long since, the following numbers were observed to enter a shop in Holborn in one day-five thousand and twenty-four; and six thousand and eighteen a shop in Whitechapel. And even allowing, what probably was the case, that the same individuals entered more than once, what an awful and alarming fact is brought before you even then. And, remember, that these places—these nests of disgrace, guilt, and misery-fill most on Saturday nights and Sabbath days; and thus the drunkard is entirely unfitted for all hearing of the Word of God, and all the means of grace. And if I were asked, as a minister of the Gospel, what is that sin against which I have to struggle hardest, that which most indisposes and unfits the souls of my people from profiting by the message I bring, and fills my heart with aching and despair-I should say, it is this sin of drunkenness. Go down Saffron Hill when I may-Sabbath or weekday, morning or evening, early or late, my ears are always shocked at the sounds of unholy revelry, or of drunken frays, within those dens of vice, the gin-shops. And as I walk along the streets of this unhappy district (O would to God that they knew their unhappiness !) how often can I see the traces of this dreadful vice in the pale emaciated features, in the staring watery eye, in the torn and dirty clothes of the habitual drunkard.
And, secondly, as to THB BVILS OP DRUNKENNE88. I need not shock your ears, or harrow up your souls, with the awful tale. My brethren, if I were disposed to work upon your feelings—from my own little experience in visiting the sick and dying-beds of those whose life this “ enemy”-has brought lowI have materials before ma that would make the blood run cold in your veins : but I forbear. I appeal again to facts—upon a larger scale. Ask those who are in the habit of visiting our prisons, what it is that fills those abodes of shame and misery. They will tell you “it is intemperance." judges and justices of peace, what is that which brings before them such a continual stream of culprits. Ask the overseers, what fills the alms-house and the poor-house. Ask the physician, what it is which fills the madhouse. They will all answer, as with one voice, that it is intemperance—that sin which is the darkest spot on Britannia's brow, the sorest blight on our character as a Christian people, the great destroyer of our individual happiness : for who is more wretched, who more depressed in spirits, than the drunkard, when sober? The great destroyer of our national industry, national integrity, peace, and prosperity ; for you only want the universal prevalence of this vice, to make nations bankrupts in virtue, bankrupts in property, bankrupts, I had almost said, of existence itself.
In the year 1831, there were ninety-five thousand persons committed to prison in England and Wales; and, by an inquiry made in those districts where it was possible to make inquiry, and from which a tolerably accurate estimate may be formed of the average of crime and its causes throughout the wholemit appears that four-fifths of the crime that has been committed may be traced to habits of drinking ; while three-fourths of the beggary and pauperism, one-half the insanity, wbich exists in the kingdom, may be traced to the same source. And if you want a good plain reason, why crime, beggary, and insanity, have increased, you may learn a reason in the increased consumption of spirituous liquors. For in the year 1821, there were twelve millions of gallons paid duty; in the year 1826, nearly twenty-four millions; and in the year 1830 nearly twenty-eight millions. Again, the practice of assembling together in public-houses, for the purpose of drinking, is a fruitful source of evil. To these places the worst of characters resort ; and there they use their influence to corrupt and debase their fellows . it is there that “ evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived :" it is there that they excite and inflame one another, and strengthen the bands of their unholy fellowship. “ Come ye,” say they, “ I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant." It is there that men learn to speak evil of dignities ; to contemn and set at defiance the laws of their country. It is there that they form plans for rapine, robbery, and destruction, and thence they sally forth to execute them. It is there that they take into their bodies that poison, which ruins not only body, but soul as well ; which teaches them to blaspheme and dishonour God; which makes them ready for unbridled anger, ripe for disgusting lewdness, ready to every work of evil.
0, it is this vice of drunkenness, it is these dens of debauchery, these manufactories of disease, which slay their thousands, and their tens of thousands, in our streets. It is this vice which impairs the health of its victim, robs the colour from his cheek, and steals the vigour from his limbs. It makes him despondent, sad, and listless when sober ; delirious and insane when filled with drink. It wastes his money, consumes his time, destroys his energies, and ruins his character. It robs his house of its little furniture ; it takes from his poor children their clothing and their food. He goes home, furious and violent with the unhappy mother; and thus the best and sweetest flower of domestic happiness is torn up by the very roots. And not merely men, but-we blush to say itfemales, in nearly as great a proportion, indulge in this awful vice: and thus, sometimes, both man and wife together, instead of fulfilling their marriage vows -instead of loving, cherishing, and honouring each other in the fear of God, till death doth them part, they plunge on through guilt and disgrace, through poverty and misery, to a hopeless, Christless death : they make themselves unfit for either earth or heaven. Earth can give them no hope nor comfort ; heaven refuses to listen, or to open the gates of mercy: and hell opens wide its mouth to receive its miserable victims. O, truly may it be said of this vice, “An enemy hath done this.” Who but an enemy could have fixed upon man a vice, which unites at once all that is loathsome in the brute, and all that is evil in the fiend? a vice whose name may fitly be called Legion, which brings in its train every other vice; and then, like a horse which has got the bit into its own keeping, sweeps on with fearful velocity, until both the soul and body plunge into eternal ruin.
My brethren, I am willing to hope, that no one of you who hear me now, is addicted to this wretched vice. We hope better things of you ; we trust that you have not so learned Christ. We would hope that you believe, and live