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Ob injure not the body God has given ;
The blushing daughter sitting by thy side,
Pass o'er thy lips, from which nought vile should come ; Touch not the unclean thing. Oh! be thou sure The serpent shall not enter in thy home.
Drink not! oh, drink not of the foaming glass,
That ever does the source of sorrow prove;
"CAN NOTHING BE DONE?”
A SAD STORY.
In a room, whose furniture betrayed at once present poverty and past affluence, lay an emaciated young inan, whose last sands seemed fast running out. His sister sat at the top of the bed, keepirg his head in an easy posture. His mother was at his side, and two younger brothers were employed rubbing his legs to afford him ease. The face of the dying youth was like ivory. Great beads of sweat were upon his brow. His forehead was of the class from which phrenologists form high expectations. His eyes were illumined with a brillancy often observed to precede death, and at this time lustrous with tears. And altogether, there was a strange, restless, unsettled, and unearthly appearance about him. The minister, under whose care he had been when a boy, had just been engaged in commending his soul to God, and had risen from his knees, and was about to leave, when, shaking hands with him, he said,
“O George, George, I am so glad that you are enabled to indulge hope in death; yet to this moment, I cannot conceive how, with all your good principles in early life, you could have been led astray as you have been."
All appeared grieved at the good man's reference; but he proceeded,
“Of all the young men I have ever known, you were the most promising, and the least likely to be led astray.”
An expression of agony seemed to pass over the face of the dying man. His eyes were closed for a few moments; when, looking up to his sister and mother, they understood him to express a wish that he should be
“ No, George !—no!" his mother said, “you are not able."
“Gratify me; I am dying!” he said; “ Mr. M‘Naughton may do others good by a knowledge of how I was led astray; and an hour longer or shorter of life makes little difference to me now.
“It were long to tell you, Mr. M.Naughion,” he said, “how I was led astray. Perhaps I read scripture less, and prayed less, and realized less of the divine presence, after I left home than before. Many things may have contributed to my first departure from rectitude; bui my ruin, you are aware, was effected through strong drink.”
“I know it, George, I know it, and that principally surprises me; because before you left home you were so rigid an abstainer. You have refused wine in
house." “ Yes; I was right at home," he said ; “but from my earliest years, in this town and elsewhere, I have continually had templations presented to me to induce me to use strong drink. Even in your own family, as you have mentioned; and of course in others. The licence that a clergyman takes in cases of this kind, his people will carry out to a far greater extent than his example warrants. Abstinence in a minister will scarcely, influence all his people to be temperate; the use of strong drink at all will, in a vast number of cases, be taken by them as a justification of their own intemperance. At home, consequently I was constantly urged to drink as a favour ; I was laughed at for not drinking, and sometimes frowned upon. My conduct was ascribed to my inability to use intoxic cating drink without becoming a drunkard,—10 a desire to assume a position of superiority over my equals,—to a mean desire to save money,
,-and many other motives of a similar, unworthy, and dishonourable character."
“Still you resisted all these!”
“ Only, perhaps, as a stronghold resists for a time attacks made upon it, each of which nevertheless weakens it, and prepares it for its ultimate fall." " It should have had the opposite effect, George.”
VO “Yes, that is the general view I daresay. I think it was my own; but contact with evil, and exposure to evil counsels, does not leave the mind unaffected. The man that has had the fewest temptations to a wrong course presented to him, in my opinion, is the least likely to yield to such persuasives when addressed to him on any new occasion. Practically, I have found that, when my mind was not inclined to consent to such inducements, they still haunted the memory afterwards, and exer cised a prejudicial influence upon me; and when inclined, the temptation was generally the occasion of my consenting to evil. The many tempta tions to use strong drink at home, and the known practice of the best!
men there, I can assure you, often caused me to faller before I went to my vew situation, and I solemnly believe, conduced to my ultimately abandoning my abstinence principles, and to my ruin. I blame no one, Mr. M.Naughton," he said, looking up 19 him. “ It would ill become me to blame. I am myself the chief of sinners. In commencing the use of strong drink, at every step I violated my convictions of right, and silenced the voice of God within me. At the great judgment, I dare say nothing, but . Unclean, unclean! God be merciful to me a sinner!' But, O, Mr. M.Naughton! could nothing be done to take these temptations out of the way of others ?” He became weak and fell back, but soon recov
covered, and would not be persuaded 10 cease speaking.
" When I went to M- - ,” he said, “ my temptations multiplied. Among the circle of my acquaintances not a single soul practised ahstinence. It w
was never spoken about but for mockery. A scheme proposing to teach how man could be supported without food could scarcely have been treated with more scorn. Abstainers in Scotland occupy not only an easy, but an honourable position, compared with those in England. Every person in the office where I was, not only used intoxicating drinks, but could not do without them, and both avowed this, and gloried in it! My practice alienated me from some of them, and lowered me, at first, in the estimate of all. As I rose in the office, I was sometimes at my master's table. My practice there made me singular. It was noticed, and, as I believed, not to my advantage. At least this was the conclusion at which I arrived, and I was influenced by it accordingly. Everywhere my conduct
I was the subject of wonder, ridicule, or censure. I became attached to a young lady, who herself and her relatives were very stern opponents to abstinence. No demund was made that I should surrender my practice but I knew well that it would seriously interfere with my success. I came to know that nothing else would do so. Personally, I had never experienced the misery of drunkenness, and could not fully estimate it. The cost of securing the advantages of temperance I was inclined to exaggerate. I gladdened my friends by abandoning my abstinence practice! I never viewed my temperance principles as wrong; but tried to convince myself that the world was not ready for their adoption, and that consequently it was about as vain to struggle for this, as to expect a crop by sowing in winter. I knew all the while the weakness of my own reasoning ;--that the advance-guard of truth must ever expect to meet with an unprepared world; and that it was by the maintenance of what I was abandoning, that other generations would find the world better prepared for the reception of these principles. Indeed, the reasons which I assigned were more for my justification in the sight of others, than for pleading at the bar of conscience. Fearful have been the consequences to me of violating my convictions of right. But why should customs of this kind be allowed to continue to tempt individuals, some of whom are sure to be overcome by strong drink if they use it at all ? For it, I had no inclination, and would have vastly preferred to live and die without it, if this could have been done without lowering my position in the estimate
of those around me. Why should Christian men allow the continuance of a state of society, in which a man must appear singular and unsocial, and lose caste, or expose himself to habits which will ruin him for time and eternity? At
every table where I sat, intoxicating drinks in some shape were to be found. I could not use these in one place and not in another-I drank everywhere! I knew that a given per centage of those that used these drinks would be ruined by them; but supposed, as every one that uses them does, that I should prove an exception. I thought that my knowledge of the danger put me in a position of greater safety than those who were ignorant or sceptical about it. I thought as I knew the character of the stream, that I should certainly keep out of the rapids. My work was often very exhausting. I had frequently late hours. When I got home, I found myself much refreshed by wine. I used it-used it often; was often overcome by it before the public came to know anything about it. It became known at length, however, as drunkenness invariably does, and I lost my situation!”
He paused, as if unable to proceed further, but after a little resumed his narrative. “ After I lost my situation, doors that were always before open to me were shut; and those whom 1 had abandoned my principles to please, ceased to notice or know me. How low I sunk I veed not tell; but in my lowest state I still felt my degradation, and desired to escape from it! I got engaged as under-steward in a temperance vessel bound to India. I reformed-returned-got employment from my old masters, and was advanced from one place to another, till I had nearly reached my old situation."
“How, then, George, could you fall a second time?"
“ Possibly I cannot tell you how. My resolutions were sincere, so far as a man can be a judge of his own sincerity ; but I thought after a time that I might use a little without danger. I tried to do this, and succeeded. I tried again and again, and found I could take a little and stop at the right point. I knew that my friends around would not give me credit for being reformed, unless they saw that I could take a little. It was sad ignorance on their part, but great guilt on mine! The views of others ought to have been a very secondary matter with me, and sobriety everything. If abstinence had brought death, to die a sober man should been better-a thousand times better—than to live a drunkard! It is the curse of the intemperate man, that his reason becomes dimmed by the presence of intoxicating drinks, as the sky becoines dark by the withdrawal of the sun; and resolutions melt away as snow before the heat of summer. I began to use intoxicating drinks openly. I drank more and more. Reason and conscience lost their supremacy, and appetite again occupied he vacated place. I had no more power to resist this tyrant, than the paralyzed arm to obey the will !”
“ Still, George, you were a man."
“ I was,-1 was,- ,-a responsible man! I tried hard to think otherwise, and sometimes thought I had succeeded; but I never did. Still the appetite for intoxicating drinks raged, as you may conceive of the desire
for food to dominate in men long deprived of it. The sight of drinkthe smell of it even conversation about it made the desire for it a species of madness. And drink in some shape or other was everywhere! Had I lived where all were abstainers around me, and the occasions which excited the appetite withdrawn, I might possibly have been saved. The world in which I was was different. I fell, and sunk deeper and deeper, I became a profligate, a cheat, a beggar, a criminal; and never reformed till in the cell of a prison, from which I have only been released to die. It was thus I fell. You are a man who may exercise influence upon influential men, to induce them to do something to remove temptations out of the way of the young-something to facilitate the reformation of the half million of miserable drunkards in our land, and to prevent them from being tempted again to return to their evil ways ! Surely there are Christian men enough in this country to change the custom of continually using intoxicating drinks at our tables; and Christian principle enough to lead to the exercise of the amount of self-denial which may
be necessary to secure such an increase to human happiness, and such a diminution of human misery, as would be effected by the abolition of drunkenness!"
He looked again at Mr. M‘Naughton, and said,
“Surely something more could be done!" These were his last words. He sunk down totally exhausted, and almost fainting. He never after recognized any of his relatives. His work was done. Death woke him next morning as the sun rose.
Reader! permit the writer to address the question to you which George put to his minister—“Can nothing more be done?”
THE WORDS OF A FRIEND. ADDRESS read at the BAND of HOPE GALA at ASKE HALL,
August 21st, 1862. In the present aspect of the Temperance movement, the attention of its thoughtful promoters is fixed upon the efforts which are now heing made to train up the rising generation in the principles and practice of teetotalism. There are two circumstances calculated to encourage our friends in the prosecution of this object. In the first place they have a material to work upon untainted by inveterate habits and craving appetite; and in the next place, as a general rule, parents, even those who are inaccessible to the appeals of temperance reformers, are too sensible of the dangers of the drinking system not to rejoice in seeing their children fenced in as it were from its besetting allurements. Encouraged by these favourable circumstances, and impressed with the vast importance of securing the adhesion of the young, Bands of Hope are now regarded as a necessary adjunct to every temperance association, without which it would not be complete. Isolated, however, from each other, and conducted upon no regular system, it was apparent that their efficiency was greatly impeded, and that a closer co-operation and a special organization were necessary in order to the full development of their power. With a view to accom.