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It is high time that the errors which prevail in Christendom upon this subject were made manifest, in order to their final destruction; and that justice were done to the word of God, in regard to alcoholic intemperance, and anti-alcoholic temperance; terms which may be aptly employed, to signify the departments of christian ethics which relate to wine and strong drink, in our future correspondence.

In my letter to you of date 6th June, 1856, which appeared in the Gospel Tribune of July, the same year, there are certain apposite remarks, which I now take the liberty of quoting nearly verbatim: "It has often been asserted, with apparently some degree of triumph, that there is no command of Scripture against the use of intoxicating wine. How such an assertion could have been made by men intimately acquainted with the sacred volume, it is not easy to explain. The fact is quite the reverse. Although the 'blessed Gospel,' as has been well remarked by arch-deacon Jeffreys, is not a book of casuistry, nor a statute book of laws;' yet, in the case of wine and strong drink, the general plan of the Divine procedure in leaving specific acts and things, to be judged of by men, with the discerning, intellectual and moral faculties, with which God has endowed them, seems, in a remarkable manner, to have been departed from by Divine wisdom. The Decalogue supplies general laws for man's government, but it does not condescend to enumerate the various modes in which persons may violate these laws.

"Under the 6th commandment, for example, which is: “Thou shalt not kill,' there is no enumeration of the various means by which murder may be committed; there is no catalogue annexed of the different poisonous substances to be found in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, by which life may be destroyed, in a more or less summary manner. You find nowhere in the Bible, any legal prohibition of the use of opium, or arsenic, or any other poison known to the ancients; yet, it cannot be denied, that danger might have been incurred,

and may still be incurred, by individuals, and even death be the result from the ignorant, or intentional use of them.

"But the Almighty has acted differently in regard to wine and strong drink. They seem to possess certain qualities which might entitle them to be included in the same category with opium; but universal experience has proved that they are articles which surpass that poison in their power to lead groups of mankind astray from the paths of virtue. They possess peculiarly seductive properties, by which they often irresistibly lure multitudes to destruction; opium-eating being a solitary, while spirit drinking is often a social vice, the prolific parent of innumerable crimes, the destroyer of thousands of souls, the implacable enemy of Jesus and His religion! It is on account of these singularly perverting and destructive qualities possessed by alcoholic drinks, (may it not be safely and reverently believed?) that Jehovah has singled them out and made them conspicuous as objects to be shunned by man; and this He has done in instances too numerous to be recapitulated here, and in a great variety of ways, all calculated to arrest the attention, command the conscience, and regulate the will of those who consent to examine the subject dispassionately, and without prejudice. Is not drunkenness repeatedly denounced as shutting out from the kingdom of God? and is it not true that 'principals include accessaries;' that is, whatever approaches, or comes near to them, or has a tendency to them? Is not the use of alcoholic drinks in man's normal state of health, included under this canon of interpretation, seeing it has been admitted by the physiologist, that it is the nature of these drinks to induce a habit which constitutes confirmed drunkenness ?' "Hear what the Rev. Dr. Beecher says, with uncommon power, upon this subject: 'But of all the ways to hell, which deluded mortals tread, that of the intemperate is the most dreary and terrific. The demand for artificial stimulus, to supply the deficiencies of healthy aliment, is like the rage of

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thirst and the voracious demand of famine. It is famine, for the artificial excitement has become as essential now to strength and cheerfulness as simple nutrition once was. But nature, taught by habit, to require what once she did not need, demands gratification now, with a decision inexorable as death, and to most men, as irresistible. The denial is a living death.'

"So far, then, mankind would have had no excuse for tam. pering with alcoholic, intoxicating drinks, if there had been merely in the Bible such a denunciation as the following: 'Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven;" or even if this had been wanting, and their sole, or at least principal instructer, as in other cases, had been the 6th, and other commandments of the Decalogue. But not only is drunkenness denounced in Scripture, but the use of that which produces it, is by name strictly forbidden, thus: 'Look not thou upon the wine when it is red: when it giveth his color in the cup when it moveth itself aright: at the last, it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.' Other Scriptural proofs are there given, but I do not proceed with them here, as they will be brought fully under notice in a future communication.

The following pointed observations, however, may not be out of place: "Would you think it right to make opium your common food, or to use it at all in your normal state of health, if the same epithets were applied to it in the Bible, as are applied to alcoholic wine? or rather, would the testimony of Scripture against it, similar to that against intoxicating wine, induce you to receive it into your favor: although without that testimony, you keep it at a distance, and eschew the use of it, except as a medicinal agent?—that is to say, would it be right, not only to attach no value to the witness of Scripture and of God against it, but to place that witness to its credit, which ought, according to common sense, grammar, reason and revelation, to militate, in the strongest manner, to its disadvantage and repudiation? Would it be lawful to trifle with it as men

now trifle with wine and other alcoholic drinks; not only if, but because God had been pleased to express, in the most authoritative manner, His disapprobation of it as a common article of diet, and stamped it as infamous, over and over again; although, without such Divine interdict, you feel it to be your duty to reject it from your daily food? If so, then, no doubt it will be perfectly lawful and right for christians to continue, as they have been doing, with intoxicating drinks, for ages past; to treat them with the same unbounded confidence, in spite of all the awful denunciations of God against them, and not only in spite of, but because they have been so denounced. For it is obvious that if opium, with its preparations, having only the testimony of man against it, be generally treated as a poison, and therefore avoided as an article of diet, while alcoholic drinks are so made use of, which have the decided testimony of God against them, in addition to the testimony of mankind; were the witness of God super-added against opium, it would not only not corroborate the former evidence to its injury, but altogether neutralize that evidence, and cause it to be received as a good creature, deserving of the utmost confidence."

Man believes the testimony of his fellow man, that opium is a poison, and acts in accordance with that testimony. Shall he not receive "the witness of God," which is greater, and yield implicit obedence to it, for "this is the witness which He hath testified" of the wine which intoxicates; "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red: when it giveth his color in the cup: when it moveth itself aright: at the last, it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”

Hoping, in my next letter, after a few further preliminary remarks, to be enabled by the grace of God, to sketch out a plan for the Scriptural investigation of the great disease— Alcoholic intemperance, and the cure thereof: Anti-alcoholic temperance; and requesting an interest in your prayers.

I am, Yours affectionately, JOHN MAIR.



One would suppose, from the favor shown by christians generally to the doctrine of expediency, as the basis of modern Teetotalism, that drunkenness was not included under the principles expounded by our Divine Redeemer, in His Sermon on the Mount, and that anti-alcoholic temperance was a myth, which might in vain be sought for in the Bible; for if a reality to be found there, why should human expediency have been preferred to the Divine law, in all its comprehensiveness and spirituality, in this branch of christian ethics? That, not only drunkenness, but everything which has a tendency to it, is virtually forbidden by the perfect morality of our Saviour, I firmly believe.

I shall make no attempt, at present, to explain why such a belief has been so rare; or why a lax and faulty human device should have been preferred to a Divine commandment, perpetually and universally binding upon mankind. An effort may be put forth in a future letter to unfold this mystery. I have faith in the Bible, as the only sure and sufficient foundation of all genuine, effective, God-pleasing, God-honoring morality; whether in church, or state; for families, nations, or individuals, abroad, or at home. I cannot agree with Neal Dow, as he is reported to have expressed himself, at the great public meeting in Manchester, when he visited England, in 1857, that legal prohibition is, or can be, "the last stage in the temperance reformation." The expediency which now views intoxicating wine, &c., as a good creature within the sanctuary, but votes it to be a nuisance elsewhere, must, I apprehend, give place to the stern, consistent belief, that intoxicating liquor of every kind is an evil thing, as well at the Lord's table as at man's table, ere any prohibitory law, however perfect it may seem, can

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