Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

self, and had many times resolved to reform ; but had broken his resolution so often, he at last pretended he could not refrain, and went so far as to say, it was no sin for him to get drunk ; for God had given him the appetite, and be had no power to overcome it.

But when the revival began, he was brought under very serious impressions of mind, which caused him to break off his intemperate habits, and to cry mightily to God for pardon.. God heard and answered, by pardoning and adopting grace: For a while he lived as an heir of the grace of life; but now and then tasted a little spirit; till at length, falling in company with his old comrades, he drank too freely, and was quite overcome. When he came to himself, sorrow filled his heart, nor could he rest, till he had publicly and repeatedly acknowledged his fault. From this time, he took up a resolution to taste no more ardent spirits, which he has sacredly kept, and continues to adorn his profession. I had the happiness of a free conversation with him on his experience.

I never could, said he, reflect on my crime without shame and guilt; and though I pretended it was the will of God I should thus sin, I was never satisfied with the excuse. It is true, I made resolutions to amend, and some efforts to deny myself, which miscarried ; but it was neither because God willed my wickedness, or, that it was impossible for me to refrain from it ; but the reformation was undertaken in my own strength, without a due dependance on the grace of God. When I saw, by convicting grace, the depravity of my heart, and the sinfulness of my life, and my entire dependance on divine mercy ; I found a strength accompanying my resolutions, which was before unknown, and consequently, that which seemed impossible before, became easy now.

I now had no disposition to be intemperate, yet I thought a little spirit might be taken without injury, and had a little only been taken, it might have been no injury ; but a little increased my appetite for more, and led me into the company of those, who enticed me into my former sin. I have now learned, that I must totally refrain, or the spare of the devil will again entangle me.

There are, continued he, the fewest of the class to which I formerly belonged, who lastingly reform, of any class of sinners with which I am acquainted. And the principle reason is, there is something so bewitching in the taste and ef

fect of ardent spirits to one, who has been long in the habits of intemperance, that the taste unmans him, and he is drawn almost imperceptibly to yield to its power.

If such an one would live the life of a Christian believer, he must take up a full cross, and touch not, taste not, handle not.'

These remarks, honored father, were instructing to me. Indeed, I have learned much from what I have seen and heard, and hope when you again see me, you will not think my time mispent. Yours, &c.

C. O.


Reformed Hill, 1814.

The character of drunkards admits of such a variety of shades, as renders it difficult to touch them all by the nicest pencil. Several of these touches have been already attempt. ed; one more may suffice.

Horatio never performs any Jabor, except to get money to buy rum. He no sooner gets a shilling, than he goes to the grog-shop to spend it. If he can get enough, he lies there dead drunk, till the fumes of the liquor are over ; or if he does not wallow in his filth like a swine, he goes staggering home, and frightens his wife and children by fiend-like language, and for several hours his house is a perfect bedlam. If he can get any money his wife has earned, it goes immediately for liquor ; and if he imagines she has any concealed, he abuses her if it is not resigned to his disposal. But she bears the whole with a surprising degree of patience.

Of all the drunken characters in the world, none is more detestable than Horatio's.


CHARLES having been somewhat particular, hitherto, thought proper in what remains, to make some general re marks.

On various characters of civil and religious life, there is no need to say any thing further, than what may be found in the reflections already written. Yet some general remarks


may be appropriately made in the course of the remaining pages. This should be naturally expected at the close of a work which has already exhibited so many distinct characters, as well as shades of the same character.

In former times there seems to have been a great degree of austerity in the manners of the people. In some respects they had a favorable influence on society, and in others they were unfavorable. They fixed a barrier in the way of open infidelity, and disgraceful vices; but they generated and nourished bigotry and superstition. In some parts of N. E. there remain traces of ancient man

The blue-law spirit may yet be seen. Good order and steadly habits are all and in all. People of this character cannot talk of those who dissent from them, with the least degree of good nature, The moment they begin, scorn, contempt, and anger may be read in their faces; and you shall, twenty times in an hour, hear the words heresy, delusion, enthusiasm, and connected too with all the curses written in the law.

But this intolerant spirit is on the decay, and it will not be long before it will cease to exist. Yet some people lament the near approach of its dissolution. They talk in a sorrowful tone of the depravity of the present times, and extol the days when dissenters were set in the stocks, and rotten eggs thrown at them, and others were hung or banished, and witches not suffered to live. Then men were fined if they did not go to meeting, or worshipped God in their own houses on the sabbath. • Then the magistrate and minister walked hand in hand, and the people were made to worship God from the dread of fines and imprisonments. A return of the same manners would, in their view, be the dawn of the millenium.

But, as might naturally be expected, when this rigidity of manners subsided, things, in some respects, went to the other extreme. Ministers, who were before regarded as demi-gods, are not now respected as much as really belongs to their office and station. Some men take a sort of pride and pleasure in despising and ridiculing them. And though cbildren once quaked with fear, when they saw a man with a white wig, and a great hat, yet now they can stone him in the street. His word was once both law and gospel ; but now he is not believed to be infallible.

The sabbath, which was then regarded with so much

strictness, that, it is said, a woman hung her cat for catching a rat on that day--is strangely disregarded, and wickedly made a day of visiting and business. Formerly drunkenness was by no means a common vice, and persons guilty of it were branded with disgrace ; but now, we have gentlemen drunkards, and lady drunkards, as well as some mean, olirty, scoundrel drunkards. A man may now get drunk every day, provided he drinks nothing before eleven o'clock, and in some places, be a good church member, and keep gentlemen's company. Swearing was onee very disreputable; but many an ignorant, conceited, infidel fop, in these days, thinks it the highest mark and ornament of a gentleman. And he would no more think of taking rank with those he considers gentlemen, without it, than he would without tassels on his boots, or whiskers on his face.

A set of modern wits have set themselves up to laugh at every thing which pertains to divine revelation. Laughing and ridicule pass with them for argument. If they can ask a few incomprehensible questions, or such as an ignorant Christian cannot answer, they triumph, as if Christianity were completely vanquished. Formerly it was not so. Whatever disrespect men might feel at heart towards religion, it was not expressed. The custom of those times rendered it so disgraceful, they dare not hazard their reputation by commencing open hostilities.

But open attacks on religion are not the only proofs of the want of it. On the contrary, there is little room to doubt, but there are as many real Christians now, as when infidelity wore a mask. - The gloomy reign of superstition and intolerance, as effectually hinders the charity of the gospel, as bare. faced infidelity. And notwithstanding, in those days of rigid austerity, ministers, creeds, and forms, were held as sacred as the Ark of the covenant, in Jewish times; yet amidst the sacred regard paid to these, there might be seen a forced sanctity, a sour piety, long faced hypocrisy, fasbionable conformity to forms and creeds, for fear of disgrace, and to ease a guilty conscience; a traditional strictness, and these mixed with a belief, that all was reprobation and damnation, out of their enclosure.

These remarks are not intended to derogate from the real piety of our ancestors; nor as appropriate to them all. Nay, many of them, (who were somewhat tinctured with the above spirit by the force of tradition) were, in the main, good men;

and others, who were joined with them, were as free from the evil as the state of the times permitted. Christians of the present age, may, therefore, well expect to meet many of their pious ancestors in the New Jerusalem.

The intention of these severe strictures, is, therefore, to show, that the present appearances of infidelity and dissoluteness of manners, are no proofs that real piety is extinct, no more than the gloomy superstition and intolerance of former times, prove our ancestors were a set of graceless pretenders. The truth is, there was real piety then, and is now; there were evils wbich hindered piety then, nor is the pres. ent time without its evils. There has been no other essential change of religious manners, than one evil has taken the place of another. The former evil was drest in robes of sanctity, and went under the appearance of godliness-the present evil has thrown off these robes, and walks naked, without shame. The former led to a bigotted, narrow charity; the other has enlarged its charity, beyond all scriptural bounds.

And this change of evils has, in most instances, taken place among the very persons, who were most addicted to the other. The gloomy superstitions and other corruptions of the church of Rome, gave rise to infidelity and dissoluteness of manners ; and the same cause produced the same effects in N. E. though in a less degree ; for the cause itself was much weaker here than in Rome. The one seems naturally to follow from the other. Those destitute of the influence and comforts of gospel holiness, and possessed only by a biggotted regard for creeds and forms, must grow tired of sueh sour, unprofitable labors ; and having been taught to believe, that what they professed was the religion of the bible, no one can think it strange, that they should rush from this extreme into the other.

No person of sound godliness can refrain his lamentations, when he sees the carnal delight and boldness with which men now attack the gospel ; but he cannot desire, that blue Laws should be re-enacted and re-enforced. Were the latter evil to regain its former strength, it might oblige the infidel to strike his colors, or hang out false ones ; but he would still keep the smuggled goods of infidelity in the hold of his heart. Instead then of setting satan to cast out satan, it will be far better to use the prayer of faith, evangelical preach

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »