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stitution, and alike puny in intellect, and pampered in the cradle of lurury, the descendants have not the power to retain even the pecuniary consequence, much less the character of their progenitors; and often the very name ceases among men. Some temperate and industrious indi. vidual, from an obscure condition, gradually comes into possession of their wealth, and in turn his descendants give up the reins to self-indul. gence, and take the same downward course, and are soon buried in the same oblivious gulf.
"Oh Luxury! the eldest born of wealth,
A greedy vampire, feasting on his heart !" VI. In the sixth place, let us consider the effects of epicurean indulgence upon the national character.
Physical energy—so greatly is mind dependant upon matter_lies at the foundation of a nation's success and glory. But epicurean excesses impair, and finally crush it. How little of clear-sighted, effective legislation, and of promptness and decision in time of peril, and of evenhanded justice following close upon the heels of crime, can we expect, when rulers and magistrates are frequently found at the table of luxury oppressing and benumbing all their intellectual and moral energies! Nor can a nation expect that her sailors and soldiers will escape the withering influence, when the example of indulgence is set by legislators, judges, and the respectable portion of the citizens. More than one Hannibal, who had conquered the snows of the Alps, and the sword of his enemy, has been subdued by the luxuries of Capua.
Nor let a nation imagine that a resolute and pervading spirit of enterprise can long coexist with luxurious indulgence. The men who line their country's coasts with forests of masts, who build up at frequent intervals the busy and the mighty city, and who, in their commercial enterprises, traverse every ocean and clime, now braving the billows and the ice-bergs of arctic and antarctic seas, and now the heats and pestilence of the torrid zone, are never trained for their work at the table of luxury. And just in proportion as dietetic excesses prevail, will such hardy enterprises diminish. So in every other art and pursuit demanding vigor and noble daring, the arm of industry will be palsied, and those arts only flourish that minister to effeminacy and luxury.
Well were it for a nation if the deteriorating process stopped here. But that apple of a nation's eye, its morality, soon feels its inroads; and its quick-sighted consciousness of pollution becomes dimmed. The obtuseness which excess produces in the individual brain, is communicated by an infallible sympathy to the national conscience and heart. The abandoned and the profligate fear not to outrage more and more the moral sense of the community, because they see that the eagle eye and inflexible lion heart of virtue have departed. And yet, so gradual and smooth is this downward progress, that rarely is warning given or taken, till the giddy whirlpool is too far entered to return.
But this brightest jewel in a nation's crown cannot thus be plucked out without other glories falling into the plunderer's hand. Republican simplicity of manners, and republican equality of condition, are soon forced to flee from so uncongenial a soil; while customs and habits most unnatural and disgusting to the pure taste of temperance, come in like a flood; sweeping away every resting place of freedom, and raising up a
haughty aristocracy to lord it over a prostrate multitude, made too imbe. cile, physically, intellectually, and morally, by aping the luxury and extravagance of their oppressors, to be able to resist them.
It is indeed true, that intemperance in diet is never the sole cause of . this dreadful prostration of a nation's glories. Other marauders are always in company with this, to make sure the destruction and to share the spoil. But this is one of the leaders and pioneers in the accursed work; and if successfully resisted, none of the ruthless banditti that follow in the train, will be able to maintain their ground.
VII. Finally, let us consider the effects of dietetic excesses upon the cause of benevolence.
In such an artificial state of society as exists in most civilized nations, when luxury and extravagance have imparted to the animal appetites a most unnatural and ravenous strength, very few persons, not even professed Christians, are aware how few and simple are the real wants of nature. They have no idea with how cheap a fare she can, not only be satisfied, but made abundantly happy. Hence many good men have come to regard even a very criminal excess and extravagance in living as necessary to the health, strength, and well-being of the human system. Hence too, they can form no just estimate of the great amount of pecuniary sav. ing which the really temperate man is able to make. To state that most families might easily in this way reduce the expenses of living by a third, or half, would seem most unreasonably extravagant; yet I doubt not but even this is a calculation that will be found far below the actual experiment in millenial times. For it is not merely the saving in the article of food that is to be taken into the account. Good as well as bad habits always cluster together: and when men become really temperatę, they are led naturally and easily to cast off their needless extravagancies of dress, furniture and equipage. Thus will a man ere long extricate himself from many vortexes of expenditure quite as large, deep and rapid, as that which revolves and roars around the table of luxury. Nor is this all. For, strict temperance in diet will give the physical ability and the mental inclination for a more untiring, active and efficient industry, whereby the pecuniary means will be greatly enlarged. A man who will faithfully adopt such retrenchments, and practice such industry, will be astonished and delighted to find how God will bless him in his basket and his store ; and how wonderfully he can swell his contributions to the cause of benevolence. His hundreds now will cost him less of effort and sacrifice--I had almost said than his stinted tens before. Oh that Christians would learn to taste the joy of acting upon this millenial standard !
Pecuniary contribution, however, is not the greatest and most important offering which we are required to make to the cause of benevolence. There is the consecration of one's self
, body, soul, and spirit
, a living sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service. We are to hold ourselves ready to go wherever he shall call us, and to do and suffer whatever he shall lay upon us, for promoting the temporal and eternal happiness of our fellow men. But how can he whose pampered appetite loathes the simple fare of temperance, and who is wedded in his attachment to rich and stimulating food, how can he accompany the devoted Moravian amid the eternal snows of the frigid zone, or be content to follow the Arab over the burning sands of the desert ? No, these are services which he will leave for the disciples of temperance to perform; and persuade himself that his constitution is too delicate, and his prospect of usefulness too bright in civilized society, to permit him to leave the land of his father's: whereas, it may be, that his luxurious habits alone have crippled his physical energies, and rendered stagnant
the current of benevolence that should flow, warm and rapid, through every Christian's bosom; and therefore, God will not accept his apology for holding back from the missionary work.
Christian brother, or sister, whose eye may fall on these pages, are you to be reckoned in respect to your dietetic habits, among the temperate or the intemperate? Are you daily giving up the reins to appetite, so as to bring oppression upon your bodily powers, stupor upon your intellect, and apathy upon your heart ? Are you thus, for the sake of pampering and gratifying mere animal nature, planting in your body the seeds of disease, and shortening your earthly career, too short at best? Are you thus polluting and destroying that body which is consecrated by your profession to be a temple of the Holy Ghost? And especially, can you thus treat the immortal spirit that animates this body: cramping and clouding the range of its exercises-rendering your disposition irritable and unlovely-fostering gloomy and corroding passions, and spreading doubt and despondency over your prospects for eternity ? Oh, this is a dreadful tax for a Christian to pay to a tyrant so vile as intemperance !
Christian parents ! are you bringing up your families on the principles of the strictest temperance, or are you suffering your children to make a god of their belly, and by rich and stimulating food to render their bodies sickly, their minds feeble, and their tempers crabbed ? Oh, save them from the grasp of the remorseless tyrant, dyspepsy, and the community from the curse of a puny and useless progeny, and yourselves from bitter disappointment and anguish!
Christian citizen and fellow countryman, what is the testimony in respect to temperance in living which your table presents? Does the simplicity of patriarchal times and of our pilgrim fathers adorn it, or does modern extravagance load it down ? Nobly take your stand, I beseech you, against the flood of luxury and excess that is rapidly spreading over us and paralysing the energies of our social and national character, consuming, worse than uselessly, our wealth, sowing in the community the poisonous seeds of envy and jealousy-prostrating the spirit of enterprise—lowering rapidly the standard of morality—and fostering that effeminacy and weakness of character, which invite the restless and ambitious to assail and destroy our liberties.
Christian philanthropist! lover of mankind! do you prefer the luxuries of the table to the luxury of doing good ? Shall sordid appetite or slavery to general custom, be permitted to dry up the sources and stint the means of beneficence? Oh, at this day, when the cry for help, from so many lands waxes louder and louder, almost with a deafening emphasis; and when so many new fields for benevolent enterprise are showing their drought and desolation, every remaining clasp of selfishness should be unlocked from the Christian's heart; and through every avenue which industry, economy and self-denial can make, should the warm current of benevolence gush forth, full, and clear, and strong, for the conversion of the world.
(The subject to be continued.)
END OF VOL. VIII,