Last night Dr. Roseby delivered a lecture on temperance in the Town Hall. There were between 300 and 400 people present, and by some stupid error on the part of those in charge of the Juvenile Templars, a crowd of noisy children were first crowded into the back seats of the hall, and then trotted up to the gallery, where they amused themselves and disturbed the audience by doing a double shuffle on the flat floor. It was some time before the noise subsided sufficiently to enable the Chairman—Mr. Alfred Saunders —to introduce the lecturer. When he did so, in a short speech, he bespoke a fair hearing for Dr. Roseby, who in commencing his lecture, drew a comparison between the town of Ashburton and others to the south, and foretold a fair future for her. A bad harvest had brought on hard times, and if report wore true Ashburton had suffered severely from those hard times, but with an improving market in the Old Country, and a steadily rising wool value, confirmed by a cablegram in the “ Herald that night, he hoped the bad times would soon the past. The Dr. then proceeded to introduce the subject of temperance. He remembered an instance in connection with the recent visit of the Rev. Dr. Somerville, when no less than 40 requests for prayer were sent into a noonday prayer, meeting. Those 40 were for the reformation of persons guilty of intemperance, and those requests he purposed to make the subject of his remarks. Those requests were very various in their character, and comprised the prayer of fathers for intemperate Sons, mothers for intemperate daughters, and sons and daughters for intemperate parents ; every relation in life seemed to bo represented amongst the 40 petitions—all circumstances and conditions, young .and old, rich and poor, religious and unconverted. The lecturer then proceeded to expatiate on the terrible amount of sorrow, of misery, of suffering, of anxiety that must have been included in those 40 requests for prayer. Referring to the case of a drunken husband he pointed out the degradation of a man who so dishonored the position he held as the head of a household, as to become, not the example of sobriety that he ought to he, hut a degradation to himself and his family. He drew a sad picture of a drunken father led home inebriated and helpless from a debauch by the hand of liis child—a scene which was, alas, too often to be witnessed. Passing on he dwelt upon the fact that a drunken, son was no uncommon scene, and it Avas a subject that could not but cause deep sorrow to a parent. He had known young men with high talents, and brilliant prospects come out into the world with every hope of a bright future before them, and yet that future be blasted by the fell destroyer. The wife and mother was no exception to the clutches of the demon drink, and there were many such ■who had gone down before the tempter The inebriate as he diifted on towards the goal which is the drunkard’s, was left without faith in God, for his continued and oft-repeated sin corroded out his fear of the Lord. The lecturer then proceeded to pointy out that the cause of intemperance lay in a man’s physical nature. After years of moderation a man may find that the struggle to keep within moderate bounds becomes increasingly severe, and may also find that in tlic end he may succumb to the evil. It was time they began to realise the fact that (he difference between one man’s intemperance and another’s moderation was only a physical one. There Avere men who could not touch liquor without becoming inebriates, and there were others Avho could keep on in a moderate course of drinking. Every deviation, hoAvever, in the direction of excess rendered future excesses easier, and induced them to be made more frequently. There AA’ore three causes from which habitual intemperance arose. The first Avas home use. In too many homes liquor Avas used, and he did not Avonder at the fact that there were sometimes cases in which clergymen even forgot themselves and took too much, for if they were diligent visitors it Avould be offered to them, nay, forced upon them in many houses. Then our social customs Avere in favor of intemperance, and there Avas scai-cely an event in social life which did not require, by our social customs, to be celebrated by the consumption of liquor. Every marriage celebrated, every birth, ay, every death almost, required to he celebrated by the use of liquor, and there Avere many, many men, Avho made the making of a quarrel, the mending of one, the paying of an account, or the receiving of one, an occasion for drinking. There Avas a third cause, and that Avas the facilities for drunkenness which were at hand at every step. He Avished the noble band of men who Avere noAV working in the Legislature—and of whom their venerable Chairman Avas one—he Avished them God speed in their grand efforts. But the great cause of drunkenness was drinking —that Avas the marrow of the question. He Avas prepared for the question—“ Why should I do this ? I am in no danger. ” His reply to this Avas that he was not sure that any man was in no danger. Men of great moral strength and greater goodness had fallen utterly under the power of the great destroyer, and no man had any guarantee that he was able to keep clear of the great vortex which had draAvn in so many. To such an objection too, he would answer Avith the question, —Axe your children safe ? Is it a safe lesson to teach them by
your example I The lecturer then proceeded to give statistics of the drink traffic in England, from which he stated LU,000,000 were last year spent in England in intoxicating liquor, and 120,000 persons had died either a drunkard’s death, or a death that had been indirectly attributable to drink, and those men and women, with their corresponding number in New Zealand, were men and women with the same powers, the same intelligence, the same refinement, the same talent perhaps as the best of those they had left behind. Then there was an argument often used by uiM«who used liquor. It was simply this/W I like it.” That was a purely selfish and to seek an answer to that objection ho would no back to the Persian Queen Esther, to the Apostle Paul, and to Christ, himself—each of whom denied themselves and made sacrifices for the good that they could do. In a splendid • peroration the lecturer appealed to his hearers to give their countenance to the cause he advocated, and he showed that the Templar order of which he was the head in the colony, strove tosupply the place of the attractions of the barroom to the man who withdrew into Templary’s sheltering fold. The lecture was received throughout with hearty applause, and at the close the marks of approbation were renewed. Rev. W. Keall proposed a vote of thanks to Dr. Roseby for his admirable lecture.
Rev. A. M. Beattie seconded. He was not a pledged abstainer, but ho drank nothing from January to December. He was glad, however, to see so many wearing the badges of the Templar order that night, as it proved to him that they were not likely to fall into the sin of drunkenness. For himself, he was a Christian clergyman, and as such he was pledged against all sin—not that of drunkenness alone. He would be glad to see all who wore that Templar’s badge, and all who were teetotallers, and all who were not teetotalers as enthusiastic in the cause of Him who was the source of all strength to resist sin, and then the sin of drunkenness would disappear. Rev. Mr. Westbrooko moved, and Rev. A. J. Smith seconded, a vote of thanks to the Chairman. Mr. Saunders, in acknowledging the compliment, expressed the pleasure he had had in listening to the lecturer, and also to Mr. Beattie. But he doubted, if the latter gentleman looked upon the subject in another light, whether he would believe the example of not being a total abstainer was the safest one to be set before his dock. There were not many men who could lead such a blameless life, and become so good a man as they knew Mr. Beattie to be, and yet be moderate drinkers. He hoped yet to be able to welcome Mr. Beattie into that Order who tried to win by example, even as St. Paul did, who would drink no wine while the world stood, “lest he make his brother to sin.”
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