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prosecutions for crimes, may be traced to its use. There are more than 200 murders annually in the United States; more than four-fifths of them produced by ardent spirit. In London alone, last year, 31,314 persons were taken into custody, in a state of intoxication. Sir Matthew Hale, Lord Chief Justice of England, said, two hundred years ago, that “if the murders, man-slaughters, burglaries, robberies, riots, tumults, and other great enormities that have happened during the twenty years, were divided into five parts, four have resulted from excessive drinking." The following gentlemen being written to in relation to the proportion of criminal cases which have come under their notice, and supposed to result from the use of ardent spirit, gave in answer the proportion opposite their names, viz.-judge Hickney, threefourths; judge Brodnax, three-fourths; M'Lean, threefourths; Simmons, nine-tenths; William Grund, four-fifths; judge Boker, seven-tenths; judge Robbins, nine-tenths ; judge Shackleford, ninety-nine-one-hundredths.
More than 94,000,000 dollars have been annually lost to the United States by its use. The amount annually lost to the country is computed by judge Cranch, to be more than sufficient to buy up all the houses, lands, and slaves, in the United States, once in every twenty years.
But it is worse than lost, being expended in the perpetual production of crime, misery, and death. Probably more than 40,000 persons have died every year from the use of ardent spirit, and to this number we may add 40,000 more, who die of diseases, induced or aggravated, and rendered mortal by its use. If there were a great engine fixed above us in the sky, which, by a perpetual motion, pointing successively to every habitation in the United States, and shooting poisoned arrows, killed 40,000 people every year, with what horror should we regard our situation! We should esteem the sands of Africa, or the snows of Spitzbergen, a better habitation. But ardent spirit kills not for time only, but for eternity. “There is reason to believe that thousands and tens of thousands are now impenitent, unbelieving, and on their way to the second death, who, had it not been for the sale and use of ardent spirit, had been ripening for glory, honor, and immortality; and that hundreds of thousands more have passed the boundaries of hope, and are lost ; who, otherwise, might have been in heaven." On the holy Sabbath, the distilleries, those black forges of Satan, keep their fires glowing, and
send the smoke of their torment. How is the Sabbath desecrated, and the mercy of God thwarted, in regard to multitudes, who, though perhaps they hear the word of life, are sure, through the influence of ardent spirit, to be heirs of endless misery. The drunkard shall not inherit the kingdom of God. The man who uses ardent spirit habitually, has a chain fastened about both soul and body, and one end is linked to the fires in hell, and every day it is shortening, and bringing him with a fatal certainty and increasing speed, to the awful end of his career. He cherishes an appetite that is consuming his system like living fiery vipers, and if he obtains a momentary respite when he steeps it in the draught of fire, it is only to have it return, and eat, as if it were a file rasping his vitals. In such a state, the man's free agency is almost destroyed ; his mind is brought into utter subjection to his body; his soul is so entirely imbruted and mastered, that, except for the purpose of remorse, it scarcely seems to exist. He has been known to declare that if a loaded cannon were placed between him and the liquid poison, he would advance towards it, though sure that the attempt would send him to eternity. This ferocious appetite has mastered even the most gigantic intellects; what, then, must be its influence over the common multitude of individuals who have fostered it. The poet Coleridge, might have used it as the ruling demon in his Eclogue of Fire, Famine, and Slaughter; a demon, whose mentioned name would make a holiday in hell; and Fire, personified, might say,
Myself—I named him once below,
The fire kindled by the drunkard, in this world, is only an emblem of that which awaits him in the world to come. The misery in which intemperance shrouds this life, and all things connected with it, would be nothing, if it did not put the seal of eternal fire upon the undying soul. If, while it bloats and burns the body, and turns it to a mass of disease, it burned away the gangrene of sin from the immortal spirit, we would hail 'it as we would a fiery chariot of glory. The purification of the soul, though purchased by the destruction of all happiness on earth, would be an infinite blessing. But it drenches the soul with sin. It debases the reason, darkens and defiles the imagination, imbrutes all the faculties, renders the whole being earthly, sensual, devilish; makes man, immortal man, an object of abhorrence in the sight of God, an object of contempt and pity to the beasts that perish. It kindles a fire, that shall burn to the lowest hell. Worthily and forcibly was it named by the lamented Robert Hall, “distilled death and liquid damnation.” Who can believe that the drunkard's habits prepare him for heaven, or that the fires of eternity will accomplish that regeneration, which the fire he has been drinking in this world has failed to accomplish here? It is an everlasting impossibility. The drunkard shall not inherit the kingdom of God. In the language of the Bible, he shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour him. He realizes the fabled curse of Kehama, and more than realizes it.
He will seek death
Forever and ever. Nay, more-the dreadful liquor—it realizes the curse that Southey with such tremendous imagery has laid upon Kehama himself, when he drank the offered cup, and became a statue of fire. We quote the poetry, and leave it to our readers to say, if the application is not something more than fanciful. There are those who believe that between death and the resurrection, the soul, that goes impenitent from this world of probation, forms and assimilates to its own sinful nature, a spiritual body, whose character to all eternity will be inevitabie and essential misery.
Upon him then the wrath-beam fell.
There is no good thing, which the use of ardent spirit has not, in some measure, poisoned or dwarfed in its growth. There is not a manufactory where the materials fabricated, and the work produced, would not have been stronger and better, but for its influence. There is no good institution of any kind, which has not felt the general debility produced by it through the world. Piety itself would have been purer, virtue would have been stronger, good men would have been holier, good books would have been more powerful, learning would have become more general, the records of science would have been more crowded with discoveries ; in the whole age and in all things connected with it, there would have been the improvement of additional centuries, had not the influence of this vice, like a mighty incubus of death, brooded over our whole physical, intellectual and moral system. Its influence has been felt like a deadly poison in the atmosphere, even by those who have never in any degree yielded their bodies or souls to its fire. It is as if an ocean of impurity had rolled its waves over the whole continent, and left a thick deposite; so that after it has retired, it is the work of ages to remove the ooze and slime that covers every edifice, and to kill the noxious reptiles that have spawned in every place.
Intemperance of any kind fills the body with disease, and puts earth upon the intellect. It draws a film before the intellectual vision, weakens all the intellectual faculties, bestializes the imagination, and makes the soul to the spiritual vision, what the bloated body of a drunkard is to the bodily vision, palsied, trembling, stupid, disgusting. It is the bondage of the soul, its paralysis, its burial, its corruption. Oh, what a degradation ! when man, free, spiritual, immortal man, born to be the companion of angels, and to live with God forever, destroys his spiritual nature, bows down to carnal appetite, puts on its gross seal and livery, imbrutes the immortal spirit, and plunges in pursuit of death eternal! What a degradation, what a loss!
The intellectual power gained by a temperate man, through the subjection into which he brings the baser part of his nature, is immeasurable. The body never was intended to be a shackle on the soul. It was not so when Adam and Eve drank the clear stream, and fed on fruits in Eden. It moved obedient to the impulse of the pure spirit within. Their sleep
Was aery light from pure digestion bred,
and when they waked, they waked to walk with God. Their Maker's image then
Forsook them, when themselves they vilified
The soul ought always to govern the body, and reign over it an absolute monarch. It ought to stamp character on the body, a character of intellect and spirituality ; and mind is never perfect in its exhibition, but when it does. We lose in moral and intellectual power, just in proportion as we do homage to the clod of clay we inhabit. The soul lays aside its regal splendor; it is no longer the monarch, but the degraded slave of the body it is so soon to leave. This degradation has become so universal, that we even look with wonder on the attainment of a perfect mastery over the corporeal inclinations, and when mind rules and triumphs, and shines through the veil of flesh, and proclaims its energy in contempt at the appeals of its slave the body, it is a sublime exhibition. How much more sublime, when the soul, regenerated and disenthralled from sin, rises to its origin, soars upwards to God, beholds him even through the cloud of sense, becomes reinstated in his image, and renders the body, so long assimilated to earth, the temple of God's Spirit. Then only is the intellect perfectly unshackled in its movements, when it is pervaded with God, obedient to him, and single to his glory.
It would be an interesting investigation, and one that has never yet been undertaken in any shape, to show the influence of the use of ardent spirit on the literature of nations, and at different periods in the history of literature. The literature of the old world, much of it bears the very stamp and countenance of inebriation. The ancients had their god of intemperance, as well as every other lust, and priests to minister at his altar, and poets to sing his praise. We can hardly think of the name of Anacreon, and the influence of his songs, without having the image come before us, (or something like it,) of a man who has been taken, halfdrowned, from a butt of wine, and placed dripping and reeling, in the midst of a crowded drawing room.
The praises of Bacchus, however, are not confined to the writings of Anacreon. Not a little of all classical literature is pervaded by this god. And what must have been the influence on the morals of the people, of a mythological system, which