But the enchantment cannot thus be broken. It hides in the bottom of the bowl; and not until a man is entirely fallen does the monster lift itself up, and strike with its terrific fangs, and answer all his implorations for mercy with fiendish hiss. We must arouse public opinion, until city, State, and national officials shall no longer dare to neglect the execution of the law. We have enough enactments now to revolutionize our cities and strike terror through the drinking-houses and gambling-dens and houses of sin. Tracts distributed will not do it; Bibles printed will not accomplish it; city missionaries have not power for the work.
Will tracts do it? As well try with three or four snow-flakes to put out Cotapaxi!
We want police officers, common councilmen, aldermen, sheriffs, mayors, who will execute the law. Give us for two weeks in our cities an honest city hall, and public pollution would fall like lightning from heaven!
If you republicans, and you democrats, do not do your duty in this regard, we will, after a while, form a party of our own, and put men in position pledged to anti-rum, anti-dirt, anti-nuisances, anti-monopolies, anti-abominations, and will give to those of you who have been so long feeding on public spoils, careless of public morals, not so much as the wages of a street sweeper.
We are not discouraged. It may seem to many that all of our battling against these evils will come to naught. But if the coral insects can lift an island, our feeble efforts, under God, may raise a break-water that will dash back the surges of municipal abomination. Beside, we toil not in our own strength.
It seemed insignificant for Moses to stretch his hand over the Red Sea. What power could that have over the waters? But the east wind blew all night; the waters gathered into two glittering palisades on either side. The billows reared as God’s hand pulled back upon their crystal bits. Wheel into line, O Israel! March! March! Pearls crash under the feet. The flying spray springs a rainbow arch over the victors. The shout of hosts mounting the beach answers the shout of hosts mid-sea; until, as the last line of the Israelites have gained the beach, the shields clang, and the cymbals clap; and as the waters whelm the pursuing foe, the swift-fingered winds on the white keys of the foam play the grand march of Israel delivered, and the awful dirge of Egyptian overthrow.
So we go forth; and stretch out the hand of prayer and Christian effort over these dark, boiling waters of crime and suffering. “Aha! Aha!” say the deriding world. But wait. The winds of divine help will begin to blow; the way will clear for the great army of Christian philanthropists; the glittering treasures of the world’s beneficence will line the path of our feet; and to the other shore we will be greeted with the clash of all heaven’s cymbals; while those who resist and deride and pursue us will fall under the sea, and there will be nothing left of them but here and there, cast high and dry upon the beach, the splintered wheel of a chariot, and, thrust out from the surf, the breathless nostril of a riderless charger.