« السابقةمتابعة »
THE NEW BRITISH AND FOREIGN
PRIZE ESSAY. The Committee of the above Society give notice that they have come to a resolution to offer a Premium of One Hundred Sovereigns, for the best Essay on the benefits of Total Abstinence from all Intoxicating Drinks :
1.-The Essay must be written in a Christian spirit, and with a design to benefit the bodies, circumstances, and souls of men.
2.-The proposed Essay will contain the origin, progress, and consequences of the customs of drinking, and drunkenness, both from sacred and profane history.
3.-It will comprise the medical opinions of the faculty, ancient and modern ; with the sentiments of magistrates, judges, and the most eminent literary, scientific, and theological writers.
4.--It will produce Scripture testimony that, although the use of wine is not prohibited, except in certain cases, and under certain circumstances, Total Abstinence from all intoxicating drinks is encouraged.
5.-It will contain statistical accounts of the evil effects of drinking customs on the babits, wealth, morals, and religious feelings of the community, embracing the experience of other nations on these topics.
6.-It will contain details of committals, punishments, and miseries arising from drunkenness.
7.-It will present the amount of loss of property, time, and intellect to the British Nation by their use.
8.-It will show how the various religious societies for the renova. tion of the world are impeded by the drinking babits of the population.
9.-It will present in an inviting manner the vast blessings which result to families, masters, mistresses, servants, fathers, mothers, and children, and to some of the most degraded individuals, from the total disuse of intoxicating drinks.
10.-It will also show the advantages that will accrue to trade, commerce, and the shipping interest; to the arts and sciences; and the immense moral benefits it will confer on the nation and the world.
The Candidates for the Prize will have the goodness to forward their MSS. in an envelope, containing their Names and Address, to Mr. J. Meredith, No. 3, Durham Place, Lambeth Road, before the 25th of December, 1838.
ADJUDICATORS—The Rev. Theodore Dury, M.A., Rector of Keighley, Rev. J. H. Hinton, M.A., and J. E. Howard, Esq.
Nearly twenty Essays were forwarded for inspection. The one now published, received the award of the Adjudicators.
In the present day, the appetite for strong drink is not only deeply rooted, but widely spread. It extends its baneful influence to persons of all ranks and conditions. It presents a most serious obstacle to the diffusion of education. It is a deadly enemy to friendly intercourse and social relations. It is no less injurious in its effects on religious welfare. Need we wonder then, that public attention is drawn to this subject.
Intemperance, whether we view it in relation to the moral, intellectual, social, or religious condition of man, is of deep and paramount importance. On no subject, perhaps, does so much ignorance prevail. The nature and effects of inebriating liquors are little understood. The flood-gates of intemperance, being once opened, the stream of sensual indulgence, has, from age to age, been suffered to roll on, until with its accumulated energies, it threatens to inundate the world with wretchedness and woe. The operations of Temperance Societies, fortunately for mankind, have in some degree, contributed to do away with this lamentable delusion.
Temperance Societies were established in the sixteenth century. The first association of this kind, of which we have any account, was instituted by Sigismond de Dietrichstein, under the auspices of St. Christopher, A. D. 1517. Maurice, Landgrave of Hesse, formed, A. D. 1600, a similar association, under the name of “ The Order of Temperance.” The rules of this society, however, were somewhat lax and indefinite. A knight, for example, was allowed at each meal, (twice a-day,) to drink seven bocaux, or glasses of wine. A third institution of this kind was established and patronized by the Count Palatine, Frederick the Fifth. These associations were not only limited in their usefulness, but transitory in their existence.
The appalling extent of intemperance, in the early part of the nineteenth century, throughout a large portion of the globe, and particularly in England and in America, first led to the establishment of modern Temperance Societies. Hitherto, all attempts at reform, had been looked upon as impracticable. In America, this melancholy state of morals was regarded by wise and reflecting persons, with equal alarm and despair.* The
* “ The highly instructed and intelligent men, through a series of generations shall have directly within their view an enormous nuisance and iniquity, and
social habits of life-the solemn ceremonies of death-even the sacred offices of religion, were almost universally contaminated with this all-pervading and demoralising vice.
The “ American Temperance Society” was instituted in 1826. It owes its origin to the writings and labours of the Rev. Dr. Lyman Beecher, and others, whose zeal in the cause of morals and humanity, will render them conspicuous in the annals of philanthropy and patriotism. This institution, through the blessing of God, has materially contributed, by its salutary operations, to save that country from impending ruin.
In the year 1829, Temperance Societies were first established in our own country. These were eventually concentrated under one general denomination. The American and British societies were constituted on the same principle-a mutual agreement to abstain altogether from the use of distilled liquors, and to discountenance the causes and practices of intemperance. In England, however, and to a limited extent also in America, the consumption of ardent spirits did not constitute the most powerful source of intemperance. Hence, the ultimate formation of Temperance Societies, based on the princ' f total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors.* This was seen to be the only practicable and efficacious means of eradicating the evil of intemperance. The operations of these societies in America, have been eminently attended with success. In Great Britain, and Ireland also, these operations have had a salutary and beneficial effect.*
The institution of Temperance Societies demands our serious consideration, not only as a means of self-preservation, but also from its paramount importance, as a measure calculated to ensure the safety of our families, and the welfare and happiness of future generations. Sensual temptations, in connexion with the pernicious and enslaving usages of intemperance, so prevalent
yet shall very rarely think of it, and never be made restless by its annoyance; and so its odiousness shall never be decidedly apprehended till some individual or two, as by the acquisition of a new moral sense, receive a sudden intuition of its nature, a disclosure of its most interior essence and malignity,--the essence and malignity of that very thing which has been offering its quality to view, without the least reserve, and in the most flagrant signs, to millions of observers.”— Foster on the Evils of Popular Ignorance.
* Speculations not unfrequently appear in the public prints in reference to a phrase, by which a large portion of these societies, in various parts of the kingdom is denominated - Tee-total. It is a provincial expression, and of Lancashire origin. It means entire, thorough abstinence, in contradistinction to the half-and-half, or as it is termed in popular language, moderation scheme. If an individual-slave to some sin,-intemperance, for example, resolves to abandon it altogether, he not uncommonly makes use of double words in order to clench the matter, or to give increased force to his resolution-I will give it up TEE-Totally. It is in fact a repetition of the same sentiment--a resolve upon resolve-a final, and, in intention at least, unalterable decision. Hence the phrase tee-total, as applied to Temperance Societies.
+ I own myself a friend to the laying down of (strict) rules, and rigidly abiding by them. Indefinite resolutions of abstemiousness are apt to yield to extraordinary occasions; and extraordinary occasions to occur perpetually. Whereas, the stricter the rule is, the more tenacious we grow of it; and many a man will abstain rather than break his rule, who would not easily be brought to exercise the same mortification from higher motives. Not to mention, that when our rule is once known, we are provided with an answer to every importunity.–Paley's Moral Philosophy, Book iv. chap. ii.
in this country, reduce thousands to the verge of eternal ruin. The poet remarks :
“ He who can guard 'gainst the low baits of sense,
Will find temptation's arrows hurtless strike
And sink the imprison'd spirit into brute." The mode by which Temperance Societies produce their salutary operations, is simple and efficient.
1. The principal object which Temperance Societies have in view, is to diffuse information on the subject of intoxicating liquors, and to disabuse the public mind concerning the false estimate they have formed in regard to the beneficial properties which they are supposed to possess, as well as to collect information relative to the evils of intemperance, and to present it to the world as an inducement to the adoption of remedial measures.
2. The constitution of these societies is simple. It consists merely of a social union of such persons as are disposed to promote the fundamental principles of the association. This measure, in fact, includes not only a profession of approval, but it also involves an obligation of co-operation.
3. To effect this result, a document, in the form of an acknowledgment or engagement is drawn up, called a “Pledge,” which all persons who desire to unite with the society, are called upon to subscribe. This act is understood to constitute an open profession of approval of, and determination to adhere to, the principles upon which the institution is founded.
The fundamental principles of Temperance Societies are included in the great laws of Christian charity and self-preservation. They are, indeed, the offspring and a noble exemplification of that first principle of Christianity so beautifully described and admirably illustrated by St. Paul, under the name of ayann, 1 Cor. xiii. the true meaning of which word is benevolence or love. In reference to this celebrated and primary Christian virtue, the Apostle Paul declares, that it is our duty both by precept and example, to “ consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works,” and which St. James describes as pure and peaceable, full of mercy and good fruits.”—James üi. 17.
It is a mistaken notion, that the principles of these Societies embrace in their object the intemperate part only of the community. The reformation of the drunkard is an important consideration in the grand scheme of Christian benevolence. On the principle, however, that “ prevention is better than cure,” the principal means of its accomplishment necessarily depend on the influence and exertions of the sober part of the community.
To describe the benefit which would result from a general disuse of intoxicating liquors, would be to exhibit the reverse side of the melancholy picture delineated in this volume.“ If this moral and physical scourge were banished from our beloved country, religion, morals, individual happiness, and national prosperity, would be promoted and augmented to an incalculable extent.
Objections are not unfrequently urged against the institution of Temperance Societies, on the ground that there is no scriptural command for abstinence of this kind ; and that to propound this remedy for intemperance, is to propose a scheme, which, in fact, supersedes and derogates from the character of the Gospel, and endeavours to impose upon mankind restraints which God does not either require at our hands, or authorise in his holy word.
The Christian reader will readily perceive the fallacy of these popular objections. The Gospel is acknowledged by all, to be the only means of salvation ; the word of God, however, no where prohibits the employment of subordinate means to remove those unnatural obstacles to its reception, which so universally prevail in the present day. In no part of the Scripture is there found a command for the habitual and dietetic use of intoxicating liquors. In many parts of the sacred book, are found decisive proofs of divine approbation of those who abstain from their use. The Scriptures contain no specific commands in relation to many evils which the pure principles of divine inspiration can by no means tolerate. Ainong these may be included theatrical entertainments, gambling, and other sinful amusements, some of which obstructed the diffusion of Christianity in the time of St. Paul. Ferocious exhibitions of gladiatorial skill, took place in the city of Rome, at the time St. Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans, and yet no literal condemnation of this practice is to be found in the writings of that Apostle.
Many eminently useful institutions are in operation in the present day, as auxiliaries to the Gospel, for which there is no direct command in the Bible ; who, however, in this age of sacred light, would on this account condemn or prohibit the formation of Bible and Missionary Societies, Sabbath Schools, and other similar establishments? These subordinate institutions, indeed, are distinguished manifestations of the essence of Christianity ; which teaches us not only to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly's ourselves, but also to do our utmost to promote the temporal happiness and eternal welfare of our fellow-creatures.
The Gospel is adequate to remove the vice of intemperance; its principles, however, have not hitherto been brought to bear upon the evil. The remonstrances and denunciations of Christian teachers, have almost invariably been directed against the drunkard, while the source or sources of the evil have been either partially or altogether overlooked and neglected. Let Christian temperance be advocated from our pulpits, and in our various religious institutions, and doubtless ere long, the vice of intemperance with all its attendant evils, will be removed from our land.
The construction of this work from the nature of the advertisement issued by the Committee of the New British and Foreign