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his reward." For, judging from his fruits, he differs as widely from Paul as heaven from hell. That holy apostle, speaking on this very subject of appetite, says, “ Give none offence, neither to the Jews nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God.” And the Savior also says, “ Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck."
9. The use of distilled liquor by members of the church, in this day of light, is incompatible with their receiving any general effusion of the Holy Spirit. Christians are allowed to hope for the Spirit to be poured out, only in answer to prayer; and only in answer to true, spiritual, believing prayer. “ If they regard iniquity in their heart, the Lord will not hear them." If they wilfully and habitually cherish any sin, they cannot have faith, and would be inconsistent for God to show such approbation as to answer their prayers. Nay, is it not most solemn mockery, for any to cry, “ Revive thy work, O Lord”—while by example they are perhaps seducing thousands to perdition! Indeed, how odious the spectacle of a company assembled professedly in the name of Christ, and looking toward heaven, but, in this posture of devotion, all breathing forth the foul, fiery element ! This is literally "offering strange fire before the Lord.” And, instead of mercy, I hear his terrible remonstrance, “ Ye are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.” I see the lightning of his anger, ready to smite such impious mockers. It should never be forgotten that the men whom the Admighty struck dead when they "offered strange fire,” were excited by liquor; and that his feelings toward such as thus unfit themselves for pure worship must be the same now. Oh, how can his pure Spirit descend and mingle his holy influences with that, which worketh all manner of iniquity, and pollutes the very air we breathe ?
God may have “ winked at” such inconsistencies, in " times of ignorance ;" but he cannot do it in such a day of light, without disgracing his holy throne. We are not, then, to expect his Spirit to come down “ like showers that water the earth," till we put away that, which we know tends to wither and consume all the “ fruits of the Spirit.” But “ let us draw near in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water,” and “he is faithful that hath promised.” He “ will open the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing, that there shall not be room to receive it.” 10. The waste of property in the use of distilled liquor is inconsistent with the character of faithful“ stewards for Christ." The “ contributions” of the church are among the appointed means for converting the world. But allow each of our eight hundred thousand professing Christians only two cents' worth of spirit daily, and the annual cost is about SIX MILLIONS OF DOLLARS! which would be sufficient to support constantly, at least fifteen thousand missionaries! Let professed stewards" of the Lord's treasury, then, who would consume this "little” on sinful appetite, ponder and blush for such inconsistency; and let them hasten to clear off the heavy charge, “ Ye hade robbed me, even this whole nation."
11. For Christians to indulge in the use of ardent spirit is inconsistent with all attempts to recommend the gospel to the heathen. Nothing has done more to prejudice our Indian neighbors, and hinder among them the influence of the gospel, than those poisonous liquors, which we have encouraged them to use. The more thinking among them have perceived these liquors to be fraught only with mischief. Several tribes have set the noble example of excluding these articles by the strong arm of law : and it is only by convincing them that really consistent Christians do not encourage such evils, that our missionaries have been able to gain their confidence, and to introduce our literature and religion.
The same feeling must prevail in more distant heathen nations. They can not but despise the Christians who use and sell a polluting drink, which they, to a great extent, regard with disgust and abhorrence.
Suppose our missionaries should go out with a Bible in one hand and a bottle in the other; what impression would they make ? Even nature herself would revolt at the alliance. And nothing but all-powerful habit and fashion have reconciled any among us to similar inconsistencies.
But not only must our missionaries be unspotted, they must also be able to testify, that no real Christians pollute themselves with this or any other unclean thing. With such testimony they might secure the conviction, that our religion is indeed purifying and elevating, and that our God is the true God. For, saith Jehovah, “ Then shall the heathen know that I am the Lord, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” Let the church, then, instead of dallying with pollution, shine forth in her heaven-born
purity, and soon would the general acclamation of mankind be, “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men!”
12. The use of ardent spirit by the church is inconsistent with any reasonable hope, that the flood of intemperance would not return upon the land, even should it for a season be dried up. The same causes which have produced it would produce it again, unless there be some permanent powerful counteracting influence. Temperance Associations throughout the land are unspeakably important, as means of reformation. But they are not permanent bodies. Their organization may cease, when intemperance is once done away. And unless the doctrine of TOTAL ABSTINENCE be incorporated with some great association that is to be perpetual, it will in time be forgotten or despised; and then drunkenness will again abound. Such an association is found only in “ the Church of the living God." This will continue while the world stands : for God has promised to support it. Let the principle of ENTIRE ABSTINENCE, then, be recognised with one consent by the church, and adopted by future members; and you have a great and increasing multitude to sustain the temperance cause, till “ time shall be no longer.” And can the real Christian think it hard thus to enlist for the safety of all future generations? If parents love their offspring, if Christians love the lambs of Christ's flock, if philanthropists love the multitudes coming into Sabbath schools, will they not gladly hasten to secure them all from the destroyer ? Has he a shadow of consistency, who will rather do that, which if done by the church generally, would lead millions of these children and their descendants to hopeless ruin?
13. The use of distilled liquor as a common article of luxury or living, is inconsistent with the plain spirit and precepts of God's word. It furnishes no warrant whatever for such use. Nothing, indeed, is said in Scripture of distilled liquor, for the very obvious reason, that the art of converting God's gifts to such a malignant poison was unknown till the ninth century. Nor does our present object admit discussing the subject of “ wine:” (which, however, among the ancients, being the simple juice of the grape, and not mixed, like most of our wines, with ardent spirit, was comparatively mild.) But the “ strong drink” of the ancients was, in its effects, somewhat analogous to ardent spirit; though not so pollu
6 Give strong
ting or so poisonous. And the use to be made of it is so distinctly pointed out, that men need not mistake and poison themselves. It was to be used as a medicine in extreme cases. drink unto him that is ready to perish.” Its common use is condemned, as awfully pernicious. Strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby, is not wise." They are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision; they stumble in judgment.” Such
passages show clearly the mind of God with respect to the nature and use of this article. And they apply with double force to the more fiery element of modern invention.
Moreover, it is said in another passage, “ Wo unto him that giveth his neighbor drink.” But does not every man who manufactures, or sells, or openly uses ardent spirit, encourage his neighbor to drink? And if he do it with the Bible in his hand, does he not contemn God's authority? And if a Christian professor thus
giveth his neighbor drink," either directly or indirectly, does he not contradict his profession of " love to God and love to man?” Does he not deny God's testimony and“ make him a liar ?" Does he not aggravate his guilt by sinning against great light? And would he not aggravate it still further, should he charge the blame on God? Oh, what a blot would it be on the Bible, should one chapter or one sentence be added, encouraging the general use of intoxicating liquor! “ If any man thus add, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.”
14. To manufacture or use ardent spirit is inconsistent with a grateful reception of the bounties of Providence. When God had formed man, and spread out before him this beautiful world, he kindly said, “ Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." God, then, it seems, intended that men should use the fruits of the earth for food. But “ they have sought out many inventions.” And one of these “ inventions” is, to take these gifts of God, and convert them into a poison, most insidious in its nature, and most destructive both to soul and body! The distiller, the vender, and the consumer of ardent spirit, encourage one another in this awful perversion of God's gifts! And is this “receiving his gifts with thanksgiving ?" Better, infinitely better, to cast them at once into the fire, or the ocean, and say unto the Almighty, “ We have no need of
these." But the ingratitude does not stop here. When men, in abuse of the divine bounty, have made this foul poison, to justify its use they call it one of the “ creatures of God!” With as much propriety might they call gambling establishments and murderous weapons his “ creatures ;" and thus encourage their general use ! But how awful the impiety of thus ascribing the worst of man's inventions to the benevolent God! In “ times of ignorance" many have done thus. But “ the darkness is past," " the true light now shineth.” And should a professor of religion now inscribe on his barrel or his decanter of intoxicating liquor, GOD MADE THIS, MAY GOD SEND IT PROSPERITY—the whole church would be indignant at his blasphemy. Nay, his own conscience, a wicked world, and Satan, would blush for such impiety. Think of this ! Make the inscription if you can! But if you dare not write it before men, can you countenance the vile traffic before Him “whose eyes are as a flame of fire !”
15. For a professor of religion to persedere in making, selling, or using ardent spirit, as a common article of luxury or living, while fully knowing its effects, and possessing the light Providence has recently poured on this subject, is inconsistent with any satisfactory evidence of piety.“ By their fruits ye shall know them.” And what are his fruits ? Why, as we have seen, he wilfully cuts short his own life, or the life of his neighbor; he wilfully impairs memory, judgment, imagination, and all the immortal faculties, merely for sensual indulgence or paltry gain ; he stupifies conscience, and cherishes all the evil passions ; he prefers sordid appetite to pure spiritual enjoyment; he is the occasion of stumbling to those for whom Christ died, and of dark reproach on the Church; he neglects the only moans Providence has pointod out for rescuing thousands from drunkenness and hell; he wilfully encourages their downward course ; he refuses the aid he might give to a great national reform; he lends his whole weight against this reformation; he is the occasion of offence, grief, and discord among brethren ; he grieves the Holy Spirit and prevents his heavenly influence; he robs the Lord's treasury; he makes Christianity infamous in the eyes of the heathen; he disregards the plain spirit and precepts of the Bible ; and, in fine, he perverts even the common bounties of Providence. Such are his fruits. And the man, surely, who can do all this, in meridian light, and while God is looking on, does not