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THE DRUNKARD'S FUNERAL. It was on the morning of a cold chilly day in the month of April, that I was thus interrupted in my studies by one of my children: "Father, there is a queer-looking man in the parlour, who wants to see you." On entering the room my eye lit upon a man who was queer-looking indeed, because his dress, face, and whole appearance, proclaimed him a drunkard. He rose on my entering the room, and with that constrained and awkward politeness, amounting to obsequiousness, which the half-intoxicated often assume, he thus addressed me:
“I come, sir, to ask you to attend a funeral this afternoon." “ Who," said I, “is dead?"
“A friend of mine," he replied, “by the name of Sand, as he has no particular friends here, I thought I would come and ask you.'
“Where did he live?" I again asked.
“ Why," said he," he lived no place in particular, except at the grocery of Mr. H-." This Mr. H
was the keeper of a groggery of the very lowest character, which had often been presented as a nuisance. I again asked, “Of what disease did he die?"
Why,” said he, dropping his countenance, and lowering his voice almost to a whisper, “I hardly know; but, between you and I, he was a pretty hard drinker."
After a few more inquiries, to which I received answers in keeping with those given above, I dismissed him, promising to attend the funeral at five o'clock.
At the hour appointed I went to the house of death. There were ten or twelve men present, and, with two exceptions, they were all drunkards. I went up to the coarse pine coffin, and gazed upon a corpse not pale and haggard, but bloated, and almost as black as the raven’s wing. There were two brothers present, both inebriates, and as unfeeling as if the body of a beast lay before them. From the undertaker I gained the following narrative as to the deceased.
He'was the son of respectable but irreligious parents, who, instead of spending the sabbath in the house of God, either spent it in idleness or in doing “their own work.” When desecrated, the sabbath is usually a day of fearful temptation. Sabbath sins make deep impressions on the soul. Whilst yet young, he became a sabbath vagrant-joined profane companions-acquired the habit of drinking; and so rapidly grew
THE DRUNKARD'S FUNERAL.
in the grocery
the love of drink into a ruling passion, that at. mature years he was a confirmed drunkard. His parents died, and the portion of property that fell to his lot was squandered. And for years,” said my informant, “ he has been drunk every day.”
“But how," I asked, "did he get the money to pay for the liquor ?"
“ He has been employed,” he replied, “by Mr. H- to shoot squirrels in the woods, and to catch water-rats in the marshes; and for the skins of these he has been paid in whisky. Nobody would see him starve; and he usually slept in a garret over the groggery. Yesterday he was taken sick, very sick,
Mr. Hinstead of giving him a bed, turned him out of the house. He was then in a dying state; and, at a short distance from the house, fell in the street. He was taken into a negro hut and laid on the floor, where he died in less than an hour. The negroes were very ignorant and superstitious, and were afraid to have the corpse in their house." It was carried to a barn. This poor but pious family hearing the circumstances, took the corpse to their house, and have made these preparations for its burial.”
I read a portion of the scriptures, and for a few moments discoursed to them on the effects of sin. I dwelt on the hardening and fearful effects of intemperance. But there was no feeling. I prayed with them; but there was no reverence. They all gazed with a vacant stare, as if their minds had evaporated, and as if the fiery liquid had burned out their consciences. They were obviously past feeling:
The coffin was closed and placed in the hearse. We proceeded with slow and solemn pace to the house appointed for all living; and a feeling of shame came over me, as I passed along the street, to be followed by half a dozen pair of inveterate topers. The coffin was placed upon the bier, and was carried by four drunkards, who were actually reeling under their load, to a secluded spot in the graveyard, where, without a tear being shed, without a sigh being uttered, it was covered up under the cold clods of the valley; and the two brothers went back to the house of death, the grog-shop, to drink, and to die a similar death, and to go early down to the same ignoble grave. The others, after lingering for a few moments, as if arrested by the thought that the grave would soon be their hcuse, followed. I stood for a short time over the grave after all had retired, pondering the deeply impressive scenes through which I had so rapidly passed. "And is this," said I to myself, “the grave of the
THE DRUNKARD'S FUNERAL.
drunkard?" And the prayer almost unconsciously rose from my heart to heaven, “O God, save my children's children to their latest generation from making such a contribution as this to the congregation of the dead !”
As I retired from the graveyard, the following lessons, suggested and illustrated by this narrative, were deeply impressed on my mind :
How great is the responsibility of parents! With what moral certainty they form the character of their children after the model of their own! Careless and irreligious themselves, their children copy their example; but because destitute of their finness of character, they yield to every temptation until they can commit sin with greediness. Were the parents of this young man, who was laid down in a drunkard's grave, on which no tear of sorrow has ever fallen, truly and consistently pious, how different might have been his life and his death! How many parents lay the foundation for the temporal and eternal ruin of their children!
How sad the effects which usually follow the habitual violation of the sabbath! All need the checks and the restraints which the due observance of the sabbath places upon our depravity. The habitual violators of the sabbath are usually those hardened in the ways of sin; and to become the associates of such is to insure the end of the proverb, “ The companion of fools shall be destroyed.”. Had this young man been brought up to “remember the sabbath-day," he might have been saved to the cause of virtue and usefulness, and from an early, ignoble, and unknown grave. The due observance of the sabbath is alike necessary to the attainment of temporal and spiritual good.
How selfish and hard the hearts of those who live by dramselling! It is a base business to sell it by small quantities for the sake of making a living. It is in opposition to the divine law. And so plainly is it under the ban of the world's reprobation, that but few save the hardened wicked" engage in it. And if a man of kind and generous nature engages in it, his heart soon becomes a heart of steel. Mr. H- the keeper of the grocery, was naturally a kind man; he became a seller of liquor by the small measure. He kept and fed poor
S as long as he was able to shoot squirrels or rats. Many is the day he spent in the salt marshes to earn his whisky. And when his poor frame gave way under the vile work, the man who did so much to degrade him turned him out to die in the
street! There is not a class of men upon earth who deserve so little at the hands of their fellow-men as do these retailers of liquid death by the gill!
How degrading is the vice of intemperance! It ruins soul, body, and character. And by elevating a mean appetite above reason, and conscience, and judgment, it degrades man to the level of the brute. Here was a young man, of respectable parentage, who, by taking glass after glass, became a drunkard. Habitual intemperance unfitted him for any business. He became the tenant of a low grocery, the fumes from which, of a winter evening, were sickening; he became the slave of a low grocer—for to earn a glass of whisky, he would spend the day and sometimes the night in the salt marshes catching rats. When no longer able to earn his glass he was turned out to die. After he breathed his last in a negro hut, his corpse was taken to a barn. By the charity of the pious alone was his dead body saved from exposure, and by the hands of drunkards he was carried to an ignoble grave, unwept, and unregretted. And all this is only the degradation which it brings on the body! It is an immutable law of Jehovah, that no drunkard shall ever inherit the kingdom of God.
Thine I am, and thine will be,
The highest joy the worldling knows,
His conscience hinder from repose ? Yes, 'tis the thought he ne'er can shun, That death will surely-surely-come. That thoaght imbitters all his joys,
'Tis like a cancer in his breast,
And turns to wakefulness his rest:
A mortal free from mental care ;
A deeper colour to despair ;
And finds his victim unprepared :
He o'er him bas his standard rear'd;
ANECDOTES AND SELECTIONS.
Anecdotes and Selections.
Ye Dinna BELIEVE A' THE BIBLE.—The biographer of Sandy Patrick, the Scotch local preacher, relates the following interview which Sandy had with a penitent enquirer in Glasgow. An intelligent female, who was labouring under a deep sense of sin, was visited by Mr. P., and notwithstanding all his encouragements and prayers she seemed to be only increasingly distressed, and almost in despair. At lengtb, while on their knees, Mr. P. said to her, “Let us sit up a we'e;" and placing himself beside her, and looking steadily in her face, he said, “Do ye believe the bible ?” “I do," she replied. “Can ye tell me who made the worlu ?" She smiled a little contemptuously, and after a pause said, “It was God.” To which he immediately replied, “How d'ye ken-were ye there to see?” She seemed surprised, perceiving that there was evidently more meant by the question than she had supposed, and then remarked, “No, I was not there, but the Word of God says that he made it.” Ah, well, then ye believe a'that the bible says, d'ye." She said “Yes." “Ah, well, we'll see; “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.' Wha says that ?" "The Father.” “Well, wid ye da as the Father bids ye?
He commands ye to hear the Son." To this she assented. "Well, then, what does the Son say ? “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Come unto me, and I will give you rest.' To the woman in the gospel he said, 'Daughter, thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven thee,' and will he not say the same to you?' Is he not saying it even to thee noo? ye dinna believe that, ye dinna believe a'the bible.” She instantly saw the shame and sin of not trusting in a promising present Redeemer, and as instantly ventured on his mercy. Confiding in the love, and power, and truth, of the world's Redeemer, she trusted herself in his hands, and found the peace she sought.
WAR.-A young angel of distinction being sent down to this world on some business, for the first time, had an old courtier spirit assigned him as a guide. They arrived over the seas of Martinico, in the middle of the long day of obstinate fight between the fleets of Rodney and De Grasse. When, through the clouds of smoke, the youth saw the fire of the guns, the decks covered with mangled limbs, and bodies dead or burning, the ships sinking or blown into the air; and the quantity of pain, misery and destruction, the crews yet alive were dealing so eagerly round to one another,-he turned angrily round to his guide, and said, “You are ignorant of your business ; you undertook to conduct me to earth, and you have brought me into hell.” “No, sir," says the guide, “I have made no mistake; this is really the earth, and these are men.”