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utterable brightness; and if they know what they do, and in full view of its consequences continue that work of death, not only let the poison go out, but furnish it and send it out to all who are disposed to purchase, it had been better for them, and better for many others, if they had never been born.” The fifth report, a document that ought to be universally circulated, speaks as follows: “A distinguished gentleman from one of our principal cities writes, * Distillers, retailers, and drunkards, are culprits here in the eyes of all sober men.” The remark is now common, that it is as wicked to kill a man by one kind of poison as another. And the conviction is settling down upon the public mind, that he who continues knowingly to do it in any way, is in the sight of God a murderer, and as such will be held responsible at his tribunal. The opinion of judge Cranch, with regard to the criminality of furnishing ardent spirit as a drink, is, with conscientious and enlightened men, fast becoming common. “I know that the cup is poison-I know that it may cause death-that it may cause more than death—that it may lead to crime, to sin—to the tortures of everlasting remorse. Am I not then a murderer? worse than a murderer ? as much worse as the soul is better than the body? If ardent spirits were nothing worse than a deadly poison, if they did not excite and inflame all the evil passions, if they did not dim that heavenly light which the Almighty has implanted in our bosoms to guide us through the obscure passages of our pilgrimage, if they did not quench the Holy Spirit in our hearts, they would be comparatively harmless. It is their moral effect, it is the ruin of the soul, which they produce, that renders them so dreadful. The difference between death by simple poison, and death by habitual intoxication, may extend to the whole difference between everlasting happiness and eternal death.”
There is now no possible excuse for the sale or the use of ardent spirit in any way. Even as a medicine, it is beginning to be acknowledged that it is almost utterly useless. Mild diseases are rendered severe, and severe ones fatal, by
In very many cases of disease, to use it as a medicine would be like setting a house on fire, to cleanse it from its impurities. And it is beginning to be seen that the manufacturer and the seller of ten or twenty gallons, are no better than the seller of one glass ; unless it be less guilty to send crime, pauperism, and misery through the country in large quantities, than it is to deal it out by retail. Does the
wholesale dealer in rum, say that his living depends on it? So do the forger, and the murderer, and the robber live by their vices. Does he say that others will sell, if he does not?
So will others murder, rob, steal, if he does not. Suppose a company of forgers should invite you to join and circulate their bills. You refuse. They tell you there are others who will, if you do not; that your joining will not make the company larger, nor your refusing lessen the quantity of crime committed. Would this be reason enough in your mind for incurring this guilt ? But the cases are similar, with only this difference; the selling of rum is not forbidden by law; the passing of forged notes is.
The dealer in this poison is far more guilty than the dealer in slaves. Formerly it was not so; but now, with all the light that blazes on this subject, there is no comparison between the iniquity of the two crimes. One destroys earthly rights; manacles and injures the perishable body, the other takes away all title to eternal life, and destroys both soul and body in hell. It is bargaining in broken hearts, diseased constitutions, domestic anguish, private misery, public crimes, death to the perishing body, and the disease of sin forever to the surviving soul. Now he knows all this; every distiller knows it; every wholesale dealer knows it; every licensed and unlicensed retailer knows it. He cannot but know it. These things are not done in a corner. The plea of ignorance shall not shield him. Where is that portion of our land so blessed, that the consuming anguish produced by the vending of ardent spirit has not touched ? Where the family so blessed, that in all its relations and branches, it is exempt from this awful scourge? We might almost ask, where the household into which this terrible domestic calamity has not entered ?
Were every man who sells ardent spirit, condemned to be followed by the loathsome carcasses and tortured souls he has destroyed; if, wheresoever he turned, he heard their horrid jibberings and blasphemies; if every vessel he filled in his distillery, and every cask he rolled from the store, and every gallon he drew from the cask, and every glass he presented to the drinker, he should see flitting around him the ghosts of those whose progress to perdition it will accelerate; if the sculls of the victims he has helped to ruin, were piled up around his shop; if every additional drunkard, made so
through his instrumentality, were added to the ghastly group; -if all should shout in his ear, .We are in hell because of you, and soon you will meet us;' who would buy liquor of such a man? and who, with such a palpable realization of the iniquity and consequences of the traffic, would dare engage in it? Yet the iniquity and its consequences are none the less awful, because they will not be disclosed till the day of judgment.
PROPER MODE OF PREACHING.
By WILLIAM A. STEARNS.
The preacher's power, is his power over consciences. Paul used it, and Felix trembled. And wherever this power is wielded, there is a bowing down of the soul beneath it. Under the influence of faithful preaching, the hearts of a whole audience are sometimes moved, by a simultaneous impulse, as the trees of the forest are moved by the wind.
Christ began his ministry with troubling the conscience. Though he came on an errand of mercy, with the sweetest, kindest message which men or angels ever heard, this he forebore to deliver, till many an eye had quailed, and many a cheek whitened, under the sermon on the mount.
But there is a way of preaching about religion, which shall not disturb, which shall even please the most unrelenting sinner.
“ I was never more delighted at the theatre," said one of this description, as she came in tears from the house of God. The agitation and sighs of the audience had borne ample testimony, through the whole discourse, to the power of the preacher. Under the influence of his fervid eloquence, they were caught away into the presence of the invisible ; and there their imaginations were made to burn and glow till they
almost saw him making " darkness his pavilion.” They were carried into the society of the saints, and saw Gabriel and the seraphim, the palm trees and the golden streets. From that holy eminence they were made to look out upon the dark mountains, where men stumble, and on which no morning cometh. After these grand and agitating scenes, they came down and stood with the preacher in the garden of Gethsemane, and saw the bloody sweat ; they went with him to the bar of Pilate, and heard the taunting Jew. As the preacher looked round upon his weeping audience, he thought indeed that he had done, nobly for his Master. But those words of cruel applause met his ear, and sent him to his chamber, in the cutting consciousness, that he had been to his hearers only as “ a very lovely song of one who hath a pleasant voice.” The preacher had preached to the sensibilities and the imagination of his hearer, but the hearer preached to the conscience of the preacher.
The fact narrated developes a principle. Men may be moved and pleased by the affecting truths of religion, and agitated by its sublimities, without one right emotion. All men love excitement, and not a few find bliss in tears. Some of the hymns of Moore, one might almost think, were hymns of penitence. But weeping is not always religion. Among the thousands who have visited the famous painting of the crucifixion, by West, perhaps there is not an individual who went away unmoved. But many of those same eyes which wept with Judah's daughters, would weep as eloquently over the sweet sorrows of Ophelia and Desdemona, or the unfortunate loves of Romeo and Juliet. They were moved by the sight of the Saviour on his cross, not by the sins which nailed him there.
There is also a kind of religion which begins and ends with the imagination. The same order of mind which delights to revel in the Paradise of the Houries, may delight also to dream of “sweet fields beyond the swelling flood.” Rousseau, Volney, and Voltaire, all saw grandeur in the works of God, and bowed down in poetic adoration. Could the scenes of the last judgment be reduced to canvass, the Saviour coming in the clouds with power and great glory, the angels flying through the heavens to gather in the redeemed, the congregating armies of the risen dead, the immense, the interminable field of men whose anxious faces await the VOL. I.
dreadful separation, such a painting would be considered, even by infidels, as one of the most splendid triumphs of the pencil. And there is no reason why minds which admire the poetry of the firmament, and sublime paintings of Bible scenes, should not admire the same things clothed in language, and addressed from the pulpit. I have heard of irreligious men who loved to read those awful lines of Dr. Watts
Tempests of angry fire shall roll,
To blast the rebel worm,
In one eternal storm
struck with the fearful grandeur of the sentiment, while they disbelieved and disapproved it.
Now minds of the sensitive and imaginative character, with the exception of those who look upon religion only as philosophers, and upon the religion of Mohammed with the same philosophical spirit as upon the religion of Christ, are peculiarly exposed to mistake sentimentalism and elevated feeling for genuine religion. The truth is, people love excitement; and the excitement of the sensibilities and the imagination, much better than the cxcitement of the conscience. Now it is right that the preacher should make use of all those avenues to the heart which God has opened. He may roll the thunder and paint the rainbow if he can, to attract the gaze of men, while he parts the cloud and shows them God, whom they have offended. But he must be careful to remember that the imagination and the sensibilities are not the conscience; they are only the porchways, the ante-rooms to the conscience. Arguments must be gathered against the man which shall circumscribe his limits and urge him, through these outworks, back into the chamber of his own dark thoughts ;—and there he must be locked in alone with spirithands which write upon the walls of a soul unrenewed, • Thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting.'
It is a stern duty to drive the arrows of the Almighty fast into the hearts of the king's enemies ; especially when we are compelled to include among them the young, the ingenuous, the cultivated, those whom we love, and who, were it not for the lack of one thing, might be best worthy our love. That must be an iron heart which does not faint at the thought of it. I wonder not that the noble apostle, when he