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word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord,” Col. iii. 16. Good day, Gilbert; may the love of Christ, which is the very spirit of praise, ever animate your heart.
CALL ON ONE FOND OF INDULGING HIMSELF.
Visitor. I do not know how it is, Mr. Burton, but whenever I call upon you, there is a glass of something good upon the table. When I say good, I mean pleasant to the palate ; for whether it be really a good to the constitution, or not, is quite another matter.
Mr. Burton. I never thought that there could be any harm in taking a solitary glass of gin and water. It keeps the wind off my stomach, and does me good, though there are some who think it almost an unpardonable sin to touch spirits of any kind. It was but yesterday, that my neighbour Starkey called in, and gave me such a rating as I have not had this many a day, because I was taking my glass, as I am now. I do not know what more he could have said if I had been a pickpocket. He told me that I was drinking rank poison; that I was encouraging idleness, drunkenness, sabbath
breaking, theft, profligacy, quarrelling, and murder, and that I was answerable for the bodies and souls of all who might be led by my example to drink gin.
Visitor. Mr. Starkey is a very zealous man, and may, perhaps, colour the case rather highly; but, for all that, I believe him to be actuated by the most praiseworthy motives.
Mr. Burton. I do not mean to deny it; but if he chooses to be a member of the Temperance Society, and I choose to take my glass of gin and water, it does not follow that he must be all right, and that I must be all wrong. I look upon it, that temperance consists in the moderate use of the good things of the world, and not in abstaining from them altogether.
Visitor. Nor am I disposed to quarrel much with your definition of temperance; yet I cannot help estimating very highly the benevolent and disinterested motives of men, who, believing that the moderate use of creature-comforts might be the means of leading others to use them immoderately, have willingly deprived themselves of indulgences, which, otherwise, they would have valued.
Mr. Burton. There may be something in that; but you may depend upon it that temperance societies will all come to nothing. What have they done? There has been a great fuss made about them, but I want to know if they have ever done any good in the world.
Visitor. Had you been in the habit of inquiring about temperance societies, you would know that much good has been done by them. I have heard great numbers have been reformed in Ireland. But I will tell you how they go on in America. In the space of six years, six thousand temperance societies have been formed, comprising more than a million of members.
Mr. Burton. Do you say so! Six thousand societies, and a million of members! Why I did not think there was one tenth part of the number in the whole world.
Visitor. Perhaps not; but, for all that, what I say is true. Two thousand distilleries have given up the making of ardent spirits, and five thousand merchants have abandoned the sale of them. Ardent spirits are almost unknown in the American army, and a much less quantity of them is drunk in the navy. Seven hundred American ships sail the salt seas without taking spirits on board ; and five thousand drunkards, within five years, have become sober, and ceased to take intoxicating liquors.
Mr. Burton. You are not a man to utter what you do not believe to be true; but I should never have thought, that if temperance societies had existed from the days of the flood until now, they would have produced such effects. Still, however, I cannot give up my glass of gin and water.
Visitor. At all events, I hope you will no longer venture to blame those who give up theirs. Few of us have virtue enough to make sacrifices for the benefit of others; and those who have, are entitled to our respect. The object of my call was to leave this paper, which I was requested by my neighbour Higgins to put into your hand the first time I saw you. As we have said so much about temperance societies, perhaps you will give them a little more consideration. In a world which so much abounds with evil, the very attempt to do good entitles a man to the consideration and goodwill of his neighbours.
Mr. Burton. You generally contrive to get the better of me, one way or other; but, as I said before, to give up my gin and water is more than I can do.
Visitor. Well, that is a matter that I must leave to your consideration. He who has all hearts at his disposal can incline us not only to desire his glory, but dispose us also to make every needful sacrifice to extend it.
Farewell, Mr. Burton, farewell!
CALL ON A LOVER OF NATURE. This is a glorious morning, my young friend; and the brightness of your eye tells me how heartily you enjoy it. The works of nature always look more lovely when we consider them as the gifts of our heavenly Father, who is equally bountiful in his providence and his grace.
Like the sun, rise betimes, and delight in spreading abroad the glory of God. Like the moon, go on peacefully in the discharge of your duties. Like the stars, preserve order, and keep in your proper place. When the sunbeams shine, rejoice in your mercies; when the rain descends, be sorrowful for your sins. Let the birds of the air lead your eyes and your heart towards the skies ; let the beasts dispose you to regard the beauties of the earth, and the fishes draw your admiration to the wonders of the mighty deep. Let the returning seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter teach you to be regular and punctual in your engagements; and let your books remind you of the best of all books, which is the Bible. Thus let every thing that meets the eye minister to the improvement of your heart, and the excellences of this world be instrumental in preparing you for the glories of that which is to come.