Flee the presence of the dissipating club-houses. “Paid your money?” Sacrifice that rather than your soul. “Good fellows,” are they? They cannot stay what they are under such influences. Mollusca live two hundred fathoms down in the Norwegian seas. The Siberian stag grows fat on the stunted growth of Altaian peaks. The Hedysarium thrives amid the desolation of Sahara. Tufts of osier and birch grow on the hot lips of volcanic Schneehalten. But good character and a useful life thrive amid club-room dissipations—Never!
The best way to make a wild beast cower is to look him in the eye, but the best way to treat the temptations I have described is to turn your back and fly! O! my heart aches! I see men struggling to get out of the serfdom of bad habits, and I want to help them. I have knelt with them and heard their cry for help. I have had them put one hand on each of my shoulders, and look me in the eye, with an agony of earnestness that the judgment shall have no power to make me forget, and from their lips, scorched with the fires of ruin, have heard them cry “God help me!” There is no rescue for such, save in the Lord Almighty.
Well, what we do, we had better do right away. The clock ticks now and we hear it. After a while the clock will tick and we shall not hear it. Seated by a country fireside, I saw the fire kindle, blaze, and go out. I gathered up from the hearth enough for profitable reflections. Our life is just like the fire on that hearth. We put on fresh fagots, and the fire bursts through and up, and out, gay of flash, gay of crackle—emblem of boyhood. Then the fire reddens into coals. The heat is fiercer; and the more it is stirred, the more it reddens. With sweep of flame it cleaves its way, until all the hearth glows with the intensity—emblem of full manhood. Then comes a whiteness to the coals. The heat lessens. The flickering shadows have died along the wall. The fagots drop apart. The household hover over the expiring embers. The last breath of smoke has been lost in the chimney. Fire is out. Shovel up the white remains. ASHES!
FLASK, BOTTLE, AND DEMIJOHN.
[NOTE.—This chapter, in its first shape, was given some currency under the title of “The Evil Beast.” I have, however, so revised and added to that Lecture, that, as here given, it is essentially a new presentation of the dreadful Abomination of Rum, and it is in this present shape that I wish the public to receive it as a full expression of my views thereon. T.D.W.T.]
There has in all ages and climes been a tendency to the improper use of stimulants. Noah, as if disgusted with the prevalence of water in his time, took to strong drink. By this vice Alexander the Conqueror was conquered. The Romans, at their feasts, fell off their seats with intoxication. Four hundred millions of our race are opium-eaters. India, Turkey, and China have groaned with the desolation;