Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

the body with disease, and shortens the term of our natural life.

Drunkenness brings with it other evils—it fills our gaols with criminals. Half, more than half the offences for which men are sent to prison have their beginning in this sin. Anger, strife, quarrelling, violence of all sorts, murder—you can hardly mention a great crime which may not, in many instances, be directly traced to drunkenness. Even those who are naturally of a quiet disposition-people of whom we say, we know no harm of them-when once they come under the influence of drink, are guilty of excesses, say and do things at which, in their soberer moments, they would shudder. For drink inflames the passions, and steals away the reason, and makes men to be as mad!

And then look what misery drinking brings upon others-look at the drunkard's home! how bare it is of comfort ! look at his forlorn wife and hapless children! pinched for bread ! insufficiently clad ! cast often for bare necessaries upon the charity of their neighbours !

Aye, and there is worse than this they have to suffer! All their life is rendered miserable to them. He who should be their joy and pride, has become a very terror to them! They dread his coming home-they are in constant fear of bad words and ill-usage-and this from the man who is bound to do all he can to nourish and comfort them ! whom they call by the sacred names of Husband and Father!

U shame on such husbands and such fathers ! shame on their selfishness ! shame on their unmanliness! It is bad enough when a single man, who has only himself to provide for, wastes his wages in intemperance, but a hundredfold worse is it when the indulgence is bought at the expense of others—when the pleasure, such as it is, has to be paid for in the tears and sufferings of a neglected, destitute family!

Painful, most painful has it been to me, brethren, to speak of these things to-day. With mourners present with us in the church, I would gladly have turned to topics of consolation.

But if I have felt obliged, on this occasion, to keep silence from the customary good words, it is not that I do not sympathize with the widow in her affliction. I feel for her very deeply—I pray God to comfort her, and to raise up friends to help her, and to have pity on her fatherless children !

Neither do I judge the dead. I cannot tell, no man can tell how far an all-knowing, all-compassionate God may find, even in his case, some ground for the exercise of that mercy in which He delighteth! Between the time when he was left-left most blameably, on the bare road, stupefied and helpless, many hours elapsed, in which it is possible that some gleam of consciousness may have visited him, some struggle of the soul to cast off its heavy burden may have been made.

But be this as it may, not the less must I regard his death as a warning-not the less must I hold it up for a witness to the evil consequence of drinking, an example to us to the intent we should not lust after the evil thing as he lusted.

You will bear with me in saying that the warning is needed. Drunkenness is not on the decrease I fear it is on the increase amongst us. When I run over in my mind the names of those who live in this parish, at how few grown men could I stop and say with certainty“ This man is not a drinking man-he has always borne a character for steadiness and sobriety.”

And so I fear it is in other parishes—so I fear it will continue to be, till the labouring poor, who suffer most by this sin, take the matter into their own hands

-till, impressed with the real harm and mischief that it does them, its ruinous effect upon their health and character, they themselves make a stand against itenter into a covenant with themselves that they will not be the slaves of drink, will not, for gratifying one base appetite, put in peril their immortal soul !

If anything would help to such an impression, it is what has happened here. A strong man has been taken away in the midst of life! gone into the unknown country, with no leave-taking of those near and dear to him in this world ! with old quarrels not made up! with no forgiveness asked or offered ! with no sign that he repented of his sins-without one utterance-as far as we know-of the sinner's parting cry—“Lord, have mercy !”

He is gone, but the lesson of his death remains, and will, I hope, long remain amongst us, to work repentance and amendment in many souls here, both of old and young, as guilty as he-as fond of drink, and as reckless in pursuing it!

That lesson I have dwelt upon at some length already. It is set forth in the solemn words of the text. Hear it once more, and tell it to others your companions, who

are not present with us to-day—Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares 1

SERMON LVIII.

SUITABLENESS OF THE HOLY COMMUNION FOR PENITENT SINNERS.

1 ST. TIMOTHY I. 15.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners ; of whom I am chief.

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners 1 this is the sum and substance of the Gospel. This is why it is such good tidings to fallen man. When we have fully mastered the meaning of these few words, we shall be possessed of a knowledge that is above price—which maketh wise unto salvation.

And yet who does not know this? There is not a child, above the very tenderest years, who will not be able to repeat the words before us. Still, though none of us are ignorant of the fact here declared, it may be a question if we have any of us enough meditated upon it. It may be a question whether we have yet found in this announcement all the comfort, all the encouragement, all the drawing of the heart to godliness, which it is

« EdellinenJatka »