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much in the present. For we may rely upon it, the present is both father and child to self-complacency.
How fatal is all this to the spirit of reverence! And what is created and finite man without it? But how shall he who is thronged by the changing, suffocating, every-day present, enlarge himself to this spirit, that speaks of immortality ? And how shall he learn to know its great nature, intent as he is on that where life feeds on decay, and death on life-being and ceasing to be? A man of the mere present ! he may be affable, obliging, generous; but the heart is not satisfied. We feel that there is a void in him; he wants the spirit of reverence-And the whole age wants it—all the earthly types of it are breaking down, and these are times of overthrow; and the spirit of overthrow is a hard spirit, and an arrogant.
There has been oppression enough on the earth, we know. But what is so desolating to the spirit of a man, what makes him feel so an outcast from his kind, as the tyranny of the many? There is an impatience of gradations of ranks, now shaking the earth, which springs as much from the decay of reverence in the minds of men, as from a spirit of resistance to wrong. Without setting up the old doctrine of the divine right of kings, may we not ask, whether God has not purposed that there should be an analogy in the form of the political state, and an adaptation of it to the unfolding of the spiritual form of individual man, in all its parts? And that one portion of it should develope the feelings connected with generous protection, and kind and condescending regard ? And another portion of it teach contentedness, subordination, and respect ? So far as God has deemed it well to unveil the higher world, there would seem to be orders there, and their unjarring movements, rank above rank, to make the harmony of heaven. The question is now trying, whether the nature of man can bear a form of state which sets this principle at nought, and whether it will not inevitably destroy reverence in the soul, and generate pride there. This seems to be the working of the popular principle now; and it may turn out that a government founded wholly upon this latter principle, is of too abstract a nature to be an object for the mind's easy and direct apprehension, or for the heart's simple affections. It may appear that it wants embodying, and needs a visible head, something for the spirit of loyalty to look up to, and that for the want of this, in its place, comes in self. There is reason to fear that the sensitiveness of a
man, upon all that touches the republic, is too often nothing else than self, and that it is he, in feeling, who stands for the body politic. And looks it not a little like it, when a lording spirit is already taking possession of him, and he will not consent to be ruled even by his own elected governors-not he ! till they come, cap in hand, and own themselves his servants ? -And thus dies reverence !
This is a subject, however, which involves principles too important to be treated upon hastily, especially if considered in its bearing upon the religious character of man. We may go into it at some future time.
But even from the winning quiet of old age, the present takes away reverence; while bearing too in his countenance, as the old man does, the aspect of the past. Where is that feeling for age, which Young so beautifully calls, “tender reverence?” Almost died out. O, what a delightful sensation it is to the soul! And how like is it to the kind respect a son bears a mother. Its blessed influences will abide in that heart into which it has once entered, and rest like soft lights on our spirits, even when we too are old. Young man, if you would have a heart-blessing, that shall go with you all your days, reverence age !
Alas, the spirit of reverence, and that which men revered in days past, were not all superstition. “ There was more in them than is dreamed of in our philosophy,” more that was in accord with the wants, and the fulness too, of the human heart. We must beware how we take for granted our superior wisdom and our superior light. A more various knowledge of the external, it may be we possess. But that knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is a more inward principle, and has somewhat to do with the heart of man. Let us take care, therefore, while we are learning a little of all manner of outward things, to “get wisdom,” that which shall turn them all to the soul's food. And for this end, bear in mind the words of old Baxter ;-Keep open the passage betwixt the head and the heart, that every truth may go to the quick.
Some one may here ask, Whether there is no evil, in looking exclusively to the past? The evil of such an excess was granted in the outset; and had this been an age of eremites and friars, I would have dwelt upon it.
And is there nothing good or great in the uses of the present ? asks another. Much. And when it ceases to be over-magnified in our eyes, there will be still more.
But we are not living for the present alone, objects a third ; we are not only auguring great things, but we are preparing great things, for time to come. Remember, that when pride augurs, that is, of itself, bad omen ; and that in the spirit in which we prophesy, shall things be fulfilled. Consider, too, that there is no setting bounds to moral influences, in time; no following them to their end, in eternity. As was awhile ago said, as the present, however modified by long and complicated workings, would not be as it is, if the past had been different from what it was;' so, that which now is, will make the future what it shall be.
One would think here was responsibility enough upon us, to make us put away too much confidence and over-weening of self. Let us do so; and go about our work (for we must work) with firm yet humble minds, with hopeful yet dependent spirits. Let us be ready to take something from experience. Let us be willing to turn awhile to look upon the Great Past, to have our souls filled with its glorious, solemn vision. How still it stands on its foundations laid in eternity ! But, see, there are faces there! And some of them are turned on us with a look surpassing earthly love; the heavens have touched them! They are not all strange to us. There is one !—and there! We thought it dead; but it lives! And it shall live! And we, too, shall live-we and the past; not one can perish. There is something awful in this truth; yet it may be a glorious truth to us, if we will but receive it.Let me leave it with you, reader, in the words of our fine poet, "To the Past ::
THE TEMPERANCE REFORMATION.
Fifth Report of the American Temperance Society. Pre
sented at the meeting in Boston, May, 1832.
By GEORGE B. CHEEVER.
The friends of Temperance are connected with a cause on which God has smiled. In 1826, the American Temperance Society was formed at Boston. Dr. Beecher's celebrated Sermons on Intemperance were preached in that same year. At that time there were probably 400,000 drunkards in the United States, and between three and four millions of persons drinking ardent spirits, and in the way to ruin. In 1824, the quantity of ardent spirits imported into the United States amounted to 5,285,000 gallons. In 1830, it was 1,195,000. In 1832, more than 1,500,000 people in the United States were abstaining from the use of ardent spirit, and from furnishing it for the use of others; there were formed more than 4,000 temperance societies, embracing more than 500,000 members; more than 1,500 distilleries had been stopped ; more than 4,000 merchants ceased to traffic in ardent spirit, and more than 4,500 drunkards ceased to use it. Probably more than 20,000 persons are now sober, who, had it not been for the temperance reformation, would have been sots; and 20,000 families are now in ease and comfort, with not a drunkard in them, or one who is becoming a drunkard, that would otherwise have been in poverty, or cursed with a drunken inmate; and 50,000 children are saved from the dreadful influence of drunken parents; and 200,000 from that parental influence which tended to make them drunkards. These facts, gathered from the late reports of the American Temperance Society, show that it has God's special blessing. It stands on a vantage ground it has never occupied before. Demonstration of its utility has been so forced upon the public, that men have ceased to ridicule it, even where they hate it. Its success is regarded as one of the wonders of the world. The path of its exertions has been followed by other nations. Testimonials in its favor have been poured in from every quarter, at home and abroad, from men of every occupation and profession, from farmers and mechanics and merchants, from men of literature and science, from overseers of manufactories, from naval and military officers, shipmasters, and agents of every description, from physicians and lawyers, from representatives, senators, and judges on the bench. A few years of labor on the part of this society have brought such conviction to the public mind, that now, state and town temperance societies are institutions which the public opinion demands.
The enterprise is one of great moral sublimity. Whatever tends to restore or confirm man's government over his passions, whatever in any degree breaks the thraldom of sense and raises him above it, whatever prepares him for the spiritual life and the activity of his immortal part, is an unspeakable blessing to the individual. Whatever does it for a nation, is of a good that cannot be computed. In this view, the temperance reformation is not inferior in moral grandeur to any other enterprise, saving the regeneration of the world, ever undertaken by mortals. It aims to give to a whole great nation the perfect command over an appetite to which it has been chained in despotism, and by which its energies have been greatly withered, diseased, and prostituted to a career of crime. It enlists the intellect as well as the heart of the people, and makes a demand upon it, and calls it into exercise. And it is a voluntary undertaking. It was entered on and has been prosecuted under the patronage of no sect or state or empire. The arm of power does not support it; nay, in the form of license laws, legislative power is arrayed against it. It shows, in a very sublime manner, the irresistible energy of voluntary associations and united effort in benevolence. It is an enterprise vitally connected with every thing good, and frowning upon every thing bad. It is frightful to think what would shortly have been our condition under the despotism of the vice of intemperance, had not this great moral barrier been thrown up to arrest its progress. It was weakening, corrupting, and preparing us for destruction daily.* Our strength from this reformation is already incal
* The men now upon the stage remember, from their childhood till within the last ten years, to have seen distilled spirits, in some form, a universal provision for the table at the principal repast, throughout this country. The richer sort drank French and Spanish brandy; the poorer, West India, and the poorest, New England rum. In the Southern States, whiskey was the favorite liquor; and the somewhat less common articles of foreign and