Whatever natural preparation the individual may have had for the exercise of this faculty, it is slowly but surely destroyed by the blight of sense. His reason, his judgment, his conscience, which are intimately connected with faith, and which, when sanctified, are pillars on which it rests, suffer in a proportional degree. Who has not seen reason unhinged, the judgment perverted, and the conscience seared by intemperate habits! Many an intellect that might have made itself felt in distant lands and ages, has been thus sacrificed, and the moral wreck has still continued to walk about, but now no longer itself. The entire intellectual as well as the spiritual man suffers in consequence of the indulgence of the sensual passions. Attention, that steady application of the mind to a given subject, wavers and, like the magnet divested of its power, refuses to point the mind to the truth. Memory, which has been styled the storehouse of knowledge, has been rifled of its contents, and fails any longer to retain knowledge, or the distinction between truth and error. The sensibilities have lost all their delicacy, and he who was once a man of taste and refinement; who gazed upon the fair face of nature with a rapture of delight, and derived a fund of pleasure from ten thousand objects in nature and art; who once at a glance could discern the proprieties and decencies of life, and complied with them from an instinctive pleasure and facility; who revolted at the thought of confounding the distinctions between right and wrong; whose heart glowed with warm emotion at the spectacle of disinterested benevolence, or melted into sympathy with suffering oppression; who indignantly thrust from him the assaults that were made to injure his character, or to soil his fair name: he who was once all this and more besides, is now no longer this. His taste is gone, and neither nature, nor art, nor the social circle, nor virtue, nor honor possesses any charms for him. Their beauty has vanished from his sight amidst the flaring, flashing, unreal creations of a fevered brain.

But if the memory is weakened, the intellect shattered, the sensibilities dried up, and the whole region of the spiritual world turned into a misty nebula in his view, there remains but little left except sense and passion. The strength and energy of the soul are concentrated upon animal enjoyments, and as the higher faculties are not exercised, the lower increase a hundred fold in vehemence; as the one diminishes the other increases. It is not merely the love of intoxicating drinks for which the inebriate thirsts; he loves much more the wild delirium, the impure fancies which it creates, the house of revelry and mirth, the

society of the vicious and dissolute, the profane oath, and scoff at everything that is sacred. The low and debasing passions. awakened in his breast, are the sources of his choicest enjoyments; anger, malice, revenge, or other feelings equally impure are the element in which he lives and moves and has his being. The power which draws him to his cups no one can calculate. Omnipotence alone can break the spell which binds him to earth

and sense.

From what has now been said, it will be seen that the two characteristics of all sin stand out in strong relief in the history of the intemperate. In the case of no other vice does man so palpably prostitute his gifts, or sink so much beneath the power of his senses.

In the next place, we should consider the danger, to which we are all exposed, of falling into this sin.

There are no persons, or classes of persons, who are entirely free from danger in this direction, not even those who have vowed most seriously to resist it. Like all other sins, it is a deceiver. Its victims are carried away by it long before they feel the fetters which it throws around them. Learning and station. are no safeguards against its insidious approaches. Many who have every rational gratification they could wish for, fall a prey to its desolations. The high places of the nation, the bench and the bar, are polluted by its fumes: and cases are not wanting where watchmen on the walls of Zion have yielded to its power and been thrown from their places. Many who received diplomas at our colleges and attended a course of moral philosophy have been seduced by it, and they now present the anomalous spectacle of literary and professional men descending to the gratifications of a mere barbarous or animal existence. When, therefore, we see strong-minded persons yielding to this insidious foe, it becomes all alike to watch and pray lest they be led into temptation.

It is something remarkable, that there are few if any countries, where intemperance prevails to a greater extent than in this and Great Britian, where according to our boasted progress it ought to have disappeared long ago. In wine-growing countries like France, Italy and Germany, scenes of intemperance, such as we witness here, are comparatively rare, and yet in those countries every opportunity is open to an excessive indulgence. The question may therefore be asked, why does such a curse rest upon our country? Why is the banner around which we are glad to rally soiled by so dark a stain? It is doubtless owing to agencies which are at work in our midst,

that call forth and develop human depravity under this form to a greater extent here than elsewhere.

The difference is to be ascribed very much to the spirit of the times, to our peculiar tendencies, habits, and to much of our literature. We live in an excitable age and country. With us everything must move with railroad speed. In the haste of our busy times, no room is left for moderation, and every energy is taxed to the utmost. Excitement is the moving spring of our activity, whether in the mercantile, the political, or the religious world. Men are found running out into extremes in every direction and on every subject of inquiry. Moderation, the basis of all temperance, is a word that is scarcely understood, and a virtue that is seldom practiced. The desire of accumulating is restrained by no bounds, and men seek to accumulate fortunes which it formerly took generations to amass. Much of the reading of the community consists of sickly novels or romances, that rouse the mind to the highest pitch of excitement, and create a morbid desire for other and stronger stimulants. The theater and the ball-room alike cater to a depraved taste, and help to hurry on the whirl of immoderate enjoyments.

This general spirit of our times is itself intemperance; nor is it difficult to trace the connection between it and intoxicating drinks. The mind is overtaxed, unduly distended, and hence there is a reaction. The period of excitement passes by, languor ensues, and the mind refuses to act without the intervention of some powerful stimulant. This is found in the intoxicating cup that which drives away the tedium of the hour, and seems to restore the mind to the elasticity of youth. During seasons of high-wrought political excitement, the aid of strong drinks is constantly invoked, as the mind can no longer sustain itself by its own energies. So too it is well known that gamblers can seldom arouse themselves to the necessary tension of mind without calling in the aid of ardent spirits.

There are some who are so endowed by nature with a vigorous constitution, that they can for a long period stand erect in the midst of surrounding excitement, without any abatement in the elasticity of their spirits; but this is not the case with the great mass of men; they have no hidden resources of their own by which to renew their wasted strength, and they feel constrained to call in foreign aid to enable them to regain their wonted animation. We say then that the danger of falling into the snare of intemperance in our day and land, is great indeed. It is but necessary that an individual yield himself to the spirit that prevails around him, to permit himself to be car

ried around the vortex, and he may expect to find his head already reel and his mind grow dizzy even before he knows what fearful passions are next to be awakened. Soon the fatal appetite is excited, and it instinctively seeks for gratification where gratification is to be found. We sometimes speak of men as embodying the spirit of the times; but when we speak thus, we mean that they represent and embody the better tendencies of their age. There is however in every age, a dark and diabolical side, which of course must have its representative-men also. These are found among the ranks of those who have gone furthest in the course of sin and transgression. The grossest sinner is the truest to the evil tendencies at work in society, and the inebriate is therefore nothing less than the product of an intemperate age, and deserves most certainly our christian sympathies: he has been made, to a great extent what he is, by the general spirit of intemperance in which he lives and moves.

Lastly, let us consider the remedy for the evil discussed. Here many important and valuable reflections will naturally suggest themselves to an intelligent mind. Every one that considers the evil in all its magnitude, must see at once the importance of standing aloof from the deceiver. The precept, Touch not, taste not, handle not, is one that applies with full force to the case in hand, and is moreover entirely in harmony with the spirit and tenor of scripture. If even an individual has no reason to fear on his own account, it requires of him but a small sacrifice to enable him to show a good example to others around him, who are never out of danger from this sin. The christian spirit of our times would not permit a clergyman to touch what is now beginning to be considered more and more a contraband article. If he did, public opinion would rise up against him, and charge him with having shewn an improper example. But why should that be considered sinful in him, but allowable in others? Certainly if he be required to be an example to others in this respect, he may say to them with Paul: Be ye followers of us, as we are followers of Christ.

Let us, however, turn our attention to that remedy which. reaches the seat of all diseases and effectually removes them, as we find it in the gospel of our common Lord and Saviour.

I. According to the word of God, the first step in the way of reformation in any case, is the knowledge of sin. No one is ever truly reformed who has not come to see his sins in their proper light, which, moreover, must be in the light of the divine word. Thus it must be with such as wish to escape from the

pollution of intemperance. We must learn to see and feel what it is, that it may excite within us horror, and so induce us to turn away from it as a thing to be hated and despised. As already said, the view we should take of it is, that it is an aggravated sin in the sight of God. It is not merely a calamity or a misfortune, nor a mere disease resulting from an individual's constitution or bodily temperament: it is an evil, not merely because it entails disease, poverty and distress upon its victims, but because it is a violation of the divine law. It is a descent from holy communion with God to the lowest degree of bestiality. Man was not made for such a destiny as this. He was not designed by his Maker to live the life of the animal that perishes. He was made in the image of God that he might live and enjoy him forever. Angels were to be his companions, and God himself his most intimate friend. It was not his sensual nature that was designed to rule over him, but spirit, and this was to keep sense and the world in subjection. His enjoyments were not to consist in the feverish delirium of the inebriate, but in rational and spiritual enjoyments, in chaste communion with everything that is pure and lovely and of good report. His life was not to be a blot on the fair page of creation, but a light of the world. His death was not to land him in the gloom of an eternal night, but to be his passage to life and immortality. His grave, instead of being the drunkard's grave, was to be his calm resting-place, until the archangel's trump should call him to a throne in the skies, and around his tomb was to linger the fragrance of a good name, of a well-earned fame, where christians should assemble to catch the inspiration of his good works, of his love, and of his heroic faith.

II. Next to a proper contemplation of the sin and misery of intemperance, the remedy consists in looking upwards, in an active belief in spiritual things. If our thoughts rise not above the sensual world, we must forever be its prisoners and slaves. We remain within an enchanted circle, from which there is no egress. It is otherwise with the man who places his affections upon things above at the right hand of God. He lives in a new world, in a world of freedom, with new objects of desire and new sources of enjoyments opened up to view. By faith he apprehends Christ, and he is himself apprehended of him at the same time. Thus he is raised above the power of his lusts, and with heaven in his heart already, he treads the world beneath his feet. Walk in the spirit, says Paul, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Be ye not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be ye filled with the spirit. Let us walk honestly

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