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THE General Association of Connecticut, at their session, June, 1812, taking into consideration the undue consumption of ARDENT SPIRITS in that state; the enormous sacrifice of property annually made in this way; the consequent alarming prevalence of intemperance; the deadly effect of this sin upon health and intellect, upon families and societies, upon our civil and religious institutions-and especially its influence to render ineffectual the means of grace, and to bring upon the souls of men everlasting destruction, have considered it as their duty to submit to the churches and congregations under their care the following recommendations—
1. IT is recommended to all the ministers in connection with this Association, that by appropriate discourses on the subject, they endeavor to call up the attention of their people, and impress their minds with a sense of the evils of intemperance, and the importance of uniting their efforts to effect a reformation, or at least to prevent the accumulation of these evils.
2. And that example may give efficacy to precept, it is recommended to the district associations in this state, to abstain from the use of ardent spirits at their various ecclesiastical meetings.
3. To the members of our churches it is recommended that on this subject they avoid the very appearance of evil, and that they carefully abstain both from the unlawful vending of spirits, and from purchasing and drinking spirits where they are sold in contravention of the law; that they exercise over one another a careful vigilance, and administer faithfully, when necessary, brotherly admonition, and maintain in reference to this subject an efficient discipline; that it be understood also, that civility does not require, and expedieney does not permit the production of ardent spirits as a part of a hospitable entertainment in social visits.
4. To parents and all heads of families, it is earnestly recommended, that they dispense with the ordinary use of ardent spirits in their families; that they early and often admonish those under their eare of the evils of intemperance, of their danger of falling into the ways in which they are liable to be overcome, and that they restrain them as far as may be from places of temptation.
5. To Farmers, Mechanics and Manufacturers we recommend earnest and prudent exertion to diminish the quantity of ardent spirits consumed in their several employments, by the substitution of other palatable and nutritious drinks, and by giving an additional compensation, if necessary, to laborers who will dispense entirely with the use of ardent spirits. 6. To extend information and impress the public mind on this subject, it is further recommended, that special efforts be
made to circulate pamphlets and tracts calculated to effect this purpose, particularly a sermon by the Rev. E. Porter, and a pamphlet on the same subject by Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia.
7. It is recommended that voluntary Associations be formed in the different towns and societies of the state, to aid the civil magistrates in the execution of the law, and to exert their influence according to their best discretion for the removal of this growing evil.
And that these practical measures, may not be rendered ineffectual, the Association do most earnestly entreat of their brethren in the ministry, of the members of our churches, and of all persons who lament and desire to check the progress of this evil, that they neither express nor indulge, the melancholy apprehension that nothing can be done on this subject; a prediction eminently calculated to paralize exertion and become the disastrous cause of its own fulfilment.— For what if the reformation of drunkards be hopeless, may we not stand between the living and the dead, and pray and labor with effect to stay the spreading plague? And what if some will perish after all that can be done, shall we make no efforts to save any from destruction, because we may not be able to turn away every one from the path of ruin?
But how are we assured that nothing can be done? Is it impossible for God to reform and save us? Has he made known his purpose to give us over to destruction? Has he been accustomed to withhold his blessing from humble efforts made to rescue men from the dominion of sin? Have not all past efforts for reformation commenced under circumstances of apparent discouragement, and all great achievements usually begun in little things? The kingdom of heaven was itself in the beginning as a grain of mustard seed, and the apostles, had they consulted appearances only, had never made an effort to enlighten the world.
Immense evils, we are persuaded, afflict communities, not because they are incurable, but because they are tolerated; and great good remains often unaccomplished, merely because it is not attempted.
If the evil, however, were trivial, or the means of its prevention arduous and uncertain, despondency would be less criminal. But it is a wasting consumption fastening upon the vitals of society; a benumbing palsy extending to the extremities of the body; a deep and rapid torrent, bearing the wreck of nations in its course, and undermining rapidly the foundations of our own. It is a case, therefore, of life and death-and what we do must be done quickly: for while we deliberate, our strength decays, and our foundations totter.
Let the attention of the public then be called up to this subject. Let ministers, and churches, and parents, and magistrates, and physicians, and all the friends of civil and religious order unite their counsels and their efforts, and make a faithful experiment; and the word and the providence of God afford the most consoling prospect of success.
Our case is indeed an evil one, but it is not hopeless. Unbelief and sloth may ruin us, but the God of heaven, if we distrust not his mercy and tempt him not by neglecting our duty, will help us, we doubt not, to retrieve our condition, and to transmit to our children the precious inheritance received from our fathers.
The spirit of missions which is pervading the state, and the effusions of the Holy Spirit in revivals of religion, are blessed indications that God has not forgotten to be gracious.
With these encouragements to exertion, shall we stand idle? Shall we bear the enormous tax of our vices; more than sufficient to support the gospel, the civil government of the state, and every school and literary institution? Shall we witness around us the fall of individuals; the misery of families; the war upon health and intellect, upon our religious institutions and civil order, and upon the souls of men, without an effort to prevent the evil? Who is himself secure of life in the midst of such contagion? And what evidence have we that the plague will not break into our own families, and that our children may not be among the victims, who shall suffer the miseries of life and the pains of eternal death through our sloth and unbelief?
Had a foreign army invaded our land, to plunder our property and take away our liberty, should we tamely bow to the yoke and give up without a struggle? If a band of assassins were scattering poison and filling the land with widows and orphans, would they be suffered, without molestation, to extend from year to year the work of death? If our streets swarmed with venemous reptiles and beasts of prey, would our children be bitten and torn in pieces before our eyes, and no efforts be made to expel these deadly intruders? But intemperance is that invading enemy preparing chains for us-intemperance is that band of assassins scattering poison and death-intemperance is that assemblage of reptiles and beasts of prey, destroying in our streets the lambs of the flock.
To conclude, if we make a united exertion and fail of the good intended, nothing will be lost by the exertion, we can but die, and it will be glorious to perish in such an effort.But if, as we confidently expect, it shall please the God of
our fathers to give us the victory, we may secure to millions the blessings of the life that now is, and the ceaseless blessings of the life to come.
CONVERSION OF A FEMALE.
To the Editors of the Massachusetts Missionary Magazine. GENTLEMEN,
Should you judge the following narrative of a late hopeful conversion calculated to arrest the attention of the careless and secure, to alarm the hypocrite, to animate and quicken the friends of Zion, and to advance the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom, you will please to make it public.
A RELIGIOUS attention had existed for the space of five or six months, in the town of --- before the subject under consideration manifested any evidence of solicitude about the concerns of her soul.
MARY, (for so we shall call her name) during this period, so far from thinking favourably of the attention, fixedly opposed it; treated it with lightness and contempt; neglected to attend conference meetings, and studiously avoided conversation with those who were apparently, under the convincing operations of the Divine Spirit, or who had hopefully become the subjects of a saving change of heart. And to this may be added, that she habitually neglected the public worship of God, on the Sabbath. Thus she continued for several months, with great obstinancy, to reject the counsel of God, and to put far from her eternal life.
But O, how mysterious, how wonderful and gracious, were the designs of Divine Providence! At a time when she appeared proof against all serious impressions, God was pleased, in a very sudden and surprising manner, to tear away, if I may so speak, the thick veil which had been upon her heart, to open her eyes to see its sinful deformity, and to fill her soul with pungent and inexpressible anguish.
By request, the writer of this article made her a visit; he found her in very deep distress, and, to appearance, under a clear and strong conviction. She expressed herself, at this interview, to the following effect: "I have heretofore been the most ignorant and stupid being that ever lived. The one
thing needful, the care of my soul, I have altogether neglected. I have been astonishingly unmindful of God; and the solemn realities of eternity I have banished from my mind, Thus have I lived, all my days, to the present time. But God has seen fit to reprove me, to set my sins in order before mine eyes, and to shew me my ruined and deplorable condition. I can assign no secondary reason or cause of this sudden and surprising event. It took place at a time, and in á manner, altogether unexpected and unaccountable. Nothing that I had done, nothing that others had said or done, has opened my eyes and filled my soul with that anxiety and distress which I now feel. O my heart, my hard and sinful heart! It is full of sin-full of every kind of pollution. Never was there so great a sinner. My sins appear too great to be forgiven. It seems as if there could be no mercy for me. I deserve none. Everlasting burnings are my just due, and I cannot but wonder, that God has kept such a wretch so Jong out of hell. What shall I do? O, what shall I do!"
After addressing the throne of grace in her behalf, and conversing with her in a manner the writer thought suitable to her situation, he left her, apparently somewhat more composed, but without any real relief.
Soon after making her another visit, he found her much in the same state of mind as before, Her distress, however, did not appear altogether so great; but her conviction seemed to be more clear and deeply fixed. He endeavored, at this time, to convey to her mind as forcible and correct ideas, as possible, of the nature, the magnitude, and dreadful consequences, of sin; and of the nature, reasonableness and necessity of repentance towards God, and of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and of her obligation immediately to repent and believe, or to become a new creature.
He endeavored also to elucidate, and impress upon her mind, the following things;-that the merciful provision of the gospel is abundantly sufficient for all who are but disposed to avail themselves of it; that the greatness of her sins would be no obstacle to the everlasting salvation of her soul, were she but willing to accept that salvation, freely offered to her in the gospel; that all things were ready for her pardon, safety, and eternal happiness; that, should she perish, she could have none to blame but herself, and therefore that all delays and excuses, with respect to compliance with duty, were very dangerous and unspeakably criminal; and, in fine, that since God had come near to her, by the convincing operations of his Spirit, her criminality would awfully increase, should she continue to resist his strivings, and that her situa