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By this absurd custom, how many become confirmed in the habits of intemperance? How few have the fortitude to abjure this pernicious practice? In this sordid manner how many are anxious to manifest generosity, whose hearts are hard, as adamant, to the calls of real distress; and who even practise every evasion, to avoid the demands of justice?

recur.

The custom of treating, as it is vulgarly called, on unneces sary occasions, tends to promote intemperance. In some places these occasions very frequently But when do they happen, without giving rise to some shameful abuses? Did they serve merely to afford a fresh opportu. tunity to the intemperate to indulge to excess, the evil would be the less. For to such persons temptations to inordinate indulgence are seldom wanting. But the mischief of such occasions is, that they allure the idle and the thoughtless, who are not yet hackneyed in vice, to engage in courses, which threaten them with ruin. If there be any occasion for such a practice, which more than any other must strike the reflecting mind with horror, it is at funerals, where every thing conspires to invite sobriety. What greater perversion then can there be, than to attend upon such solemnities with the professed design of cherishing solemn considerations of mortality, and of sympathizing with the bereaved, and, at the same time, by a free use of strong drink, to banish every serious thought?

The practice of drinking ardent spirits, at common social visits, is a further temptation to intemperance. Many people appear to think, that they cannot better evince their hospitality, than by setting spirituous liquors before their friends, and urging them to partake. This is to multiply inducements to excess, against which we cannot too cautiously guard.

Strong drink is often taken to drown reflection. By the tempo. rary elation, which it gives to the spirits, many fly to it, as a present relief, not sufficiently considering, that it will in the result multiply tenfold the evils, which it is designed to remedy.

Parental example sometimes leads children to the practice of this vice. There are however, instances, in which the sad consequences of ebriety in parents are made by a kind Providence to operate, as inducements to their offspring to avoid it, as destructive to their best hopes.

An excessive fondness for ardent spirits is often cherished by employing them for medicinal purposes. A clergyman, who was dismissed from the ministry for intemperance, once confess. ed, that he was at first insensibly drawn into the habit by consid ering it useful to take some spirit both before and after speak. ing. How desirable is it, that physicians should properly consider the danger of intemperance, when they recommend ardent spirit to be taken in composi tion with medicine. How cautious should we be, lest we delude ourselves into the belief,

that we are using spirituous liquors, either as preventives, or as remedies, when we are only

gratifying appetites, rendered insatiable by irregular indulgence!

THOUGHTS ON POVERTY.

THE present age is distinguished, and very bonorably distinguished by its efforts in behalf of the poorer classes of society. The virtue of charity was never before so well understood or so successfully practised. It is true that Christianity, wherever it has prevailed, has awakened and extended the benevolent sympathies of our nature, and even in ages of darkness and barbarism it found many a stream of bounty to flow for the relief of the poor. But the charity of former times was often injudicious. It was satisfied with feeling and giving. It did not unite the labor of the head with the impulse of the heart, and en. deavor to make its gifts productive of a permanent good. Christians are at length begin ning to learn, that charity must think as well as feel; that judg. ment must be joined with sensibility; that the precept to do good requires us to search with care by what methods the widest and most durable benefits may be communicated to our fellow beings. Christians have learned to question the value of that bounty, which scatters money with an undistinguishing hand, and even to doubt whether some of those institutions, which have been deemed the most splendid monuments of benevolence, are not on the whole injurious to

mankind. That same active spirit of scrutiny, which has detected and reformed so many errors in religion and philosophy, has been directed to the established modes of charity, and some important improvements have already been introduced. We have learned, that if we would do good to men, their nature must be consulted; the great principles of human action must be weighed; relief must be communicated in methods most suited to awaken activity, and to sustain the sentiment of self respect; and in particular, care must be taken lest the remedy strengthen the disease, lest by relieving we multiply want. We have learned, that charity, to be effectual, must be guided by a knowledge of the human heart, and that the charity, which prevents poverty, is more valuable, than that which waits to be awakened by the presence and sight of its woes.

In some ages of the church, indigence was preached up as a virtue. Europe was overrun with swarms of mendicants, who obtained a reputation for sanctity by vows of poverty, and by a life of beggary. But experience gradually taught men, that indi-' gence and slothful dependence on alms were the last things to be encouraged in a community. As the dark ages past away, Christendom learnt that saneti

ty was not improved by rags; the begging monks fell into disrepute; and since that period; the conviction has been prevalent that poverty, meaning by this word not a humble rank in society, but a state of indigence and of dependence on bounty, is a great evil, and should by every possible means be diminished

and eradicated.

Poverty is a great evil. Notwithstanding all the fine colors which fanaticism and poetry have sometimes labored to throw over it, it is a great evil.-ft brings with it much bodily suffering. The poor are often obliged to gather round a scanty table and a cold hearth: to sleep under a roof which is open to the rain and the snow; to hear the bleak winds penetrating their ragged walls and windows. They are obliged to labor when pain and weakness admonish them of approaching disease. They have few means of checking sickness in its first stages; and compassion seldom begins to minister to them, until they are stretched on the bed of sickness;-and even then, how little can compassion do, to purify the unwholesome air which they breathe, to keep their erowded room in quiet, to render them those thousand minute attentions which have power to alleviate disease.

Poverty brings also mental suffering. Hope gives to life its highest charm and animation. But the prospects of the poor, as far as respects this world, are faintly lighted up with hope. You see anxiety written in strong lines on their countenances, es

pecially in sickness. They are anxious for the supply of the morrow's wants, anxious for their children whom they see suffering around them. If they look forward to the decline of life when nature needs repose,no tranquil home rises before them, the abode of comfort and plenty. They fear that want will press more heavily, as the strength to sustain it is diminished. It is true, the alm.shouse is open to receive them; but can you wonder that those are sad, whose brightest earthly prospect is an almshouse; who know that they must be separated from the habits and associates of past life, be immured with strangers, and live and die without sympathy and friendship?

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But poverty brings with it worse evils than bodily and mental suffering. It tends to degrade the character, It is indeed true that its severe trials sometimes form exalted virtues. But these trials often prove too severe, and bear down, instead of elevating the mind. Poverty too often brings with it filth, and this has a very unhappy influence on the character. It is hard for the poor to be neat. Shut up in one room, with hardly a change of raiment, with few accommodations for preparing and preserv ing food, with minds and bodies exhausted by labor, they gradually give up attention to their dwellings, their persons, their modes of living. Their dress becomes torn and squalid. They feel themselves unfit for society. They lose the important sentiment of self respect. They feel

as if they were viewed with contempt. Their minds, thus broken down, are fitted for degrading vices. Their manners as well as their dress are negleeted and become gross and vulgar. In this depressed and suffering state, even those, whose former lives have been free from excess, are tempted to fly for relief to pleasures, which render them more miserable; and as their sufferings increase, they become sullen and irritable; they murmur against God; they look with envy on the rich, who seem to them to be surfeited with enjoyments, which they are never permitted to taste; and by these feelings, they are gradually prepared for fraud and rapine, and those bolder crimes at which humanity shudders. Such is the degradation which poverty often produces-1 am far, very far from saying, that these effects are universal. There are poor families, whose neat rooms, and decent'attire, and becoming manners, and grateful content ment impart to a benevolent mind inexpressibly more delight, than the costly furniture, the splen did ornaments, and the sumptuous tables of the rich. But 1 fear the general influence of poverty is debasing, and in this view it is an evil which should excite at once dread and com. passion

objects of philanthropy. Some will say, that this is impossible; that poverty is the infliction of God; that it visits us in storms, in sickness, in fire, in war, in calamities which we cannot avert. It is true, these calamities bring with them poverty-But it is also true, and a very sad truth, that were not these calamities aided by the neglect, improvidence, and vices of men, they would produce incalculably less poverty than we now wit

From the views now given of poverty, we see that no labor should be spared to prevent its approach, or to remove it where it is already endur

ed.

The prevention of poverty should be one of the great

ness.

The principal causes of poverty are to be found in the human character, and of course, this evil will be diminished in proportion, as the human character is improved.-In the first place, babits of sloth, irregularity, and inattention to business lead many to this wretched state. By these habits men forfeit coufidence, lose employment, are driven to the necessity of contracting debts which they cannot pay, and debt leads to a prison, to disgrace, to want.

Extravagance is another cause of frequent poverty. By this, sometimes the rich, and much more frequently the laboring classes are reduced to indigence. The past prosperity of this country has diffused extravagant habits of living, through all classes of the community. The earnings of the laborer are too often spent on luxuries of the table and of dress, to which he has no claim. Some among us regard the superfluities of life as necessaries, and even borrow money to purchase them. Yet these people, who might have been re

spectable by economy, tell you in sickness and old age, that the hand of God has made them poor.

Habits of dissoluteness, gaming, and association with licentious companions, lead others to poverty. These habits are fatal to many young men, who, instead of spending their leisure in innocent relaxation and virtuous society, waste it in scenes of riot and crime, where they dissi. pate their earnings, impair their health, make shipwreck of their principles, and lose at once. the capacity and relish for that vigorous exertion, by which an honest subsistence is to be obtained.

The principal cause of pover ty remains to be mentioned-I mean intemperance, that crying sin of our land. Ask a great part of the poor how they became so, and if their tongues refuse to tell the truth, you may read it in their bloated or haggard countenances. They be came poor in those haunts of intemperance, which law has licensed, law has opened in every street of our metropolis, and in every place of resort through our country. There they forgot their wives, their children, their own souls, and sunk into brutes. Drinking unstrung their nerves, wore down their frames, destroy ed their reputation, dissipated their earnings, and a single fit of sickness has made them dependent on charity.

When by these causes poverty has been produced, it has an awful tendency to extend and perpetuate itself. The children of

such poor families too often inherit the vices and miseries of their parents. From children, brought up in filth, seeing constantly the worst examples, hearing licentious and profane conversation, abandoned to ignorance and idleness, or if employed, only employed to beg in the streets, to extort money by falsehoods, to practise a thousand frauds; from such children, what can you expect but lives of sloth and guilt, leading to poverty more abject if possible, than that to which they were born.-This is the most affecting circumstance attending poverty produced by vice. If the parents on. ly suffered, our compassion would be diminished; but who can think without an aching heart of the child, nursed at the breast of an intemperate mother, subjected to the tyranny and blows of an irritable, intoxicated father, and at length cast out upon the world without one moral or religious principle, or one honest method of acquiring subsistence.

These remarks have been offered on the causes of poverty, that it may be seen and felt, that poverty is an evil, which may in a considerable degree be prevented. Its principal source is not the providence of God, but the improvidence and corruption of man. It will of course be diminished by every successful effort to purify society, and espe cially by improving the moral and religious condition of the laboring orders of the community. A more important object cannot be proposed by philanthropy. Each man should feel, that he

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