But perhaps you have not utterly gone astray. I may address one who may not have quite made up his mind. Let your better nature speak out. You take one side or the other in the war against drunkenness. Have you the courage to put your foot down right, and say to your companions and friends: “I will never drink intoxicating liquor in all my life, nor will I countenance the habit in others.” Have nothing to do with strong drink. It has turned the earth into a place of skulls, and has stood opening the gate to a lost world to let in its victims, until now the door swings no more upon its hinges, but day and night stands wide open to let in the agonized procession of doomed men.
Do I address one whose regular work in life is to administer to this appetite? I beg you—get out of the business. If a woe be pronounced upon the man who gives his neighbor drink, how many woes must be hanging over the man who does this every day, and every hour of the day!
A philanthropist, going up to the counter of a grog-shop, as the proprietor was mixing a drink for a toper standing at the counter, said to the proprietor, “Can you tell me what your business is good for?” The proprietor, with an infernal laugh, said, “It fattens graveyards!”
God knows better than you do yourself the number of drinks you have poured out. You keep a list; but a more accurate list has been kept than yours. You may call it Burgundy, Bourbon, Cognac, Heidsick, Hock; God calls it strong drink. Whether you sell it in low oyster cellar or behind the polished counter of first-class hotel, the divine curse is upon you. I tell you plainly that you will meet your customers one day when there will be no counter between you. When your work is done on earth, and you enter the reward of your business, all the souls of the men whom you have destroyed will crowd around you and pour their bitterness into your cup. They will show you their wounds and say, “You made them;” and point to their unquenchable thirst, and say, “You kindled it;” and rattle their chain and say, “You forged it.” Then their united groans will smite your ears; and with the hands out of which you once picked the sixpences and the dimes, they will push you off the verge of great precipices; while, rolling up from beneath, and breaking among the crags of death, will thunder:
“Woe to him that giveth his neighbor drink!”
Men like to hear the frailties and faults of others chastised. With what blandness and placidity they sit and hear the religious teacher excoriate the ambition of Ahab, the treachery of Judas, the treason of Athaliah, and the wickedness of the Amalekites. Indeed, I have sometimes felt sorry for the Amalekites, for in all ages, and on all occasions, they are smitten, denounced, and pursued. They have had their full share of censure and excoriation. It is high time