There is no home so beautiful but it may be devastated by the awful curse. It throws its jargon into the sweetest harmony. What was it that silenced Sheridan’s voice and shattered the golden sceptre with which he swayed parliaments and courts? What foul sprite turned the sweet rhythm of Robert Burns into a tuneless ballad? What brought down the majestic form of one who awed the American Senate with his eloquence, and after a while carried him home dead drunk from the office of Secretary of State? What was it that crippled the noble spirit of one of the heroes of the last war, until the other night, in a drunken fit, he reeled from the deck of a Western steamer and was drowned! There was one whose voice we all loved to hear. He was one of the most classic orators of the century. People wondered why a man of so pure a heart and so excellent a life should have such a sad countenance always. They knew not that his wife was a sot.
“Woe to him that giveth his neighbor drink!” If this curse was proclaimed about the comparatively harmless drinks of olden times, what condemnation must rest upon those who tempt their neighbors when intoxicating liquor means copperas, nux vomica, logwood, opium, sulphuric acid, vitriol, turpentine, and strychnine! “Pure liquors:” pure destruction! Nearly all the genuine champagne made is taken by the courts of Europe. What we get is horrible swill!
I call upon woman for her influence in the matter. Many a man who had reformed and resolved on a life of sobriety has been pitched off into old habits by the delicate hand of her whom he was anxious to please.
Bishop Potter says that a young man who had been reformed sat at a table, and when the wine was passed to him refused to take it. A lady sitting at his side said, “Certainly you will not refuse to take a glass with me?” Again he refused. But when she had derided him for lack of manliness he took the glass and drank it. He took another and another; and putting his fist hard down on the table, said, “Now I drink until I die.” In a few months his ruin was consummated.
I call upon those who are guilty of these indulgences to quit the path of death. O what a change it would make in your home! Do you see how everything there is being desolated! Would you not like to bring back joy to your wife’s heart, and have your children come out to meet you with as much confidence as once they showed? Would you not like to rekindle the home lights that long ago were extinguished? It is not too late to change. It may not entirely obliterate from your soul the memory of wasted years and a ruined reputation, nor smooth out from anxious brows the wrinkles which trouble has ploughed. It may not call back unkind words uttered or rough deeds done—for perhaps in those awful moments you struck her! It may not take from your memory the bitter thoughts connected with some little grave: but it is not too late to save yourself and secure for God and your family the remainder of your fast-going life.