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old, be banded together as much as others ? And professing, as they do, to be the followers of Him who is the kindest and best of Masters; who pleased not himself, and went about doing good; and who has said, “if any man will come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me," instead of being apathetic or indifferent in this noble cause, should they not exhibit not only as much self-denial and zeal, sympathy and compassion, benevolence and love, as those who belong to worldly societies, but, in each of these respects, far excel them ? Or, if they do not vie with them with a holy rivalry, will not "the children of this world” not only be “wiser in their generation than the children of light,” but condemn them? For this purpose, also, should they not deal affectionately and faithfully, closely and kindly, with relatives and friends, neighbours and acquaintances, and especially with those over whom they have the greatest influence, and with whom they are most intimate; and yet not in their own name, or in the name of man, but in the name of Christ, their Lord and Saviour ? For this purpose, likewise, should not man go to man, woman to woman, and child to child, and, by their living example, as well as by earnest entreaty, strive not only to break off their intemperate habits, but to bring
them to Christ? For this purpose, should they not speak to the drunkard, or to him who is addicted to “tippling," as soon as he is restored to his reason; and while setting before him the evil of his sin, spiritually and eternally, as well as bodily and temporally, remind him meekly, but firmly, that “ drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God ?" For, if he is capable of listening to arguments in favour of worldly abstinence, and of being moved by a sense of human kindness, and of joining a worldly society, is he not as capable of attending to arguments in favour of Christian “abstinence from all appearance of evil,” of being influenced by the voice of Christian love, and of becoming a member of the Christian Church? Or, if he is already a professing Member, or Office-bearer, of the Church, but has been guilty of drunkenness, either occasionally or frequently, should be not be reminded, not only that he has sinned grievously against the Lord, but that he is professedly "joined to the Lord in a perpetual covenant, never to be forgotten;" that he has “subscribed with his hand unto the Lord, and surnamed himself by the name of Israel ;” and thus that he has voluntarily vowed, not to man but to God, to “depart from all iniquity?” In like manner, should not all connected with the Church, in their public as well as in their private character, whether they be Ministers of State or Members of Parliament, Mayors or Magistrates, Judges or Justices of the Peace, Proprietors or Possessors of property, Lairds or Landladies, Factors or Farmers, Masters or Foremen, exercise their influence to the utmost, in every lawful way, by diminishing the facilities to drunkenness?
If all who profess to be Christ's were to act in this way, would it be doing more than what Christ has a right to expect, and demand of them? Would it be discharging more than their duty, or consulting more than their truest interest, so that they might at once be happy in themselves, and make others happy? Would it not be acting just as becometh all who, being saved themselves, are anxious, from a sense of the infinite value of salvation, to save others ? Would it not be doing something like "pulling men out of the fire," as it is figuratively, but forcibly, expressed in Scripture! Did not Paul, and others in primitive times, act in this way with the greatest success? And, if professing Christians were still to act in this way, might they not confidently expect that their efforts, too, would be abundantly successful, through the divine blessing? Would not drunkenness soon hide its head with the greatest shame, and temperance triumphantly prevail ? Would not “a liquor law," and other legislative enactments in reference to intoxicating drink, be almost unnecessary; and particularly in the case of professing members of the Church ?
At the same time, while the luxury of doing good to others would be enjoyed, would not the greatest good be conferred ?
EXEMPTION OF THIS PLAN FROM OBJECTIONS
TO THE “PLEDGE” PRINCIPLE, &c.
BESIDES, in this way, would not professing believers be putting in operation, not human but divine means for the regeneration, and reformation, of society? In this way, would we not be taking the word of God in all things as our law, and making it the guide of our lives? In this way, would we not be acting, not in obedience to human, but to divine authority; not from a regard to a self-imposed plodge, but to a heavenly-prescribed precept; not from a sense of the fear of man, but of the frown of God, or the loss of his favour; and not from the dread of a temporal penalty, but of eternal punishment? In this way, likewise, while striving to roll back the tide of intemperance in all its branches, would we not completely obviate the many objections which are often urged against teetotal societies?
For, is it not frequently said of the "pledge" principle, by different parties, that it over