Page images
PDF
EPUB

SELF-IMPOSED TAXATION.

We have been much struck with a valuable paper, laid by that thoroughly competent writer Mr. G. R. Porter before the late meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, on the “Self-imposed Taxation of the Working Classes." We have not room to give the details of Mr. Porter's calculations, but they are such, especially when combined with his known acquaintance with such subjects, as to satisfy every one of their correctness.

Our readers of the Working Classes would hardly believe that there is spent annually, and almost entirely by themselves, on the articles of Beer, Spirits, and Tobacco, no less a sum than fifty-seven millions of pounds! Now every one of these articles, we are confident, is, as the rule, not merely unnecessary, but pernicious to health. The labours of Temperance Societies, and the testimonies of numbers of first-rate medical men and chemists, have proved this. Here, then, is a sum more than equal to the taxation of the empire, extorted from the people by habit merely,-a sum which, if spent partly in really nourishing food, and partly laid by, would at the same time vastly raise the health and comforts of the people, and place the majority of the Working Classes in a position to purchase a freehold sufficient to give them a vote, a mode of obtaining one which all parties hold to be commendable, and in many cases be even sufficient to provide them a house of their own to live in. We invite, however, the special attention of our male readers to Mr. Porter's closing remark :

“There is one consideration which is of a painful character, and which, if it were hopeless of cure, would be most disheartening-it is, that so very large a portion of the male earnings of the head of the family is devoted by him to his personal and sensual gratifications. It has been computed that, among those whose earnings are from 10s. to 15s. weekly, at least one-half is spent by the man upon objects in which the other members of the family have no share. Among artisans, earning from 20s. to 30s. weekly, it is said that at least one-third of the amount is in many cases thus selfishly devoted. That this state of things need not be, and that, if the people generally were better instructed as regards their social duties, it would not be, may safely be inferred from the fact that it is rarely, if ever, found to exist in the numerous cases where earnings not greater than those of the artisan class are all that are gained by the head of the family when employed upon matters where education is necessary. Take even the case of a clerk, with a salary of £80 a year, a small fraction beyond 30s. a week, and it would be considered quite exceptional, if it were found that anything approaching to a fourth part of the earnings were spent upon objects in which the wife and children should have no share.

To drink deeply-to be drunk-is a sin: this is not denied. At what point does the taking of strong drink become a sin? The state in which the body is when not excited by intoxicating drink, is its proper and natural state ; drunkenness is the state farthest removed from it. The state of drunkenness is a state of sin; at what stage does it become sin ? We suppose a man perfectly sober who has not tasted anything which cau intoxicate ; one glass excites him, and to some extent disturbs the state of sobriety, and so far destroys it;- another glass excites him still more;- a third fires his eye, heats his blood, loosens his tongue, inflames his passions,-a fourth increas-s all this,-a fifth makes him foolish and partially insane -a sixth makes him a savage,-a seventh or an eighth makes him stupid, a senseless degraded mass ; his reason is quenched, his faculties are for the time destroyed. Every noble, and generous, and holy principle within him withers, and the image of God is polluted and defiled! This is sin, awful sin ! for “drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God." But where does the sin begin? At the first glass-at the first step towards complete intoxication, or at the sixth, or seventh, or eighth? Is not every step from the natural state of the system towards the state of stupid intoxication an advance in sin, and a yielding to the unwearied tempter of the soul ? Reader-think of this, think of your own danger, for who is so strong that he may not fall ? Thiok of the millions who lie bound in the chains of this soul spirit," and ask yourself, are you all doing your duty in discounteDancing the cause of so much sin and misery? If you canuot say yes, with a clear conscience, rise superior to foolish and wicked customs, and join your influence and your example to the efforts of those who have declared a war against the causes of the sin of drunkenness, which will only terminate with their extermination from the surface of the earth !- John Bright, Esq. M.P.

« LORD JESUS! LORD JESUS!”

This was the exclamation of one who passed us the other day, laughing at some incredible tale told him by his companion-the exclamation of thoughtless profanity. This was the exclamation of a quite irreligious man, when he saw two others about to perish by a sudden and terrific accident—the exclamation of thoughtless terror. And this also was the exclamation of Stephen, the first martyr to priestly rage against the religion of Jesus—the exclamation of calm. confidence, with which, while being crushed and bruised by the murderous stones, he commended his spirit into the hands of his living Redeemer.

Reader, you will lament with me that a word, the utterance of which has strengthened, soothed, and rejoiced the hearts of so many of your fellow-men in the last solemn hour—that hour through which all must pass-that such a word should be trifled with, and profanely used. Possibly, though I am unwilling to suppose it, you have been guilty of this. Surely this hint will be sufficient for the future. Let us, then, for a minute, think of these words.

Lord Jesus! Alas! we cannot but remember that they have been hypocritically used. Like all that is good, they have been abused. “O Liberty !” said a sufferer in the French Revolution, “how many crimes have been done in thy fair name !” And truly, indeed, may we exclaim, “Lord Jesus! how many crimes have been perpetrated in thy name !" Warriors have shed the blood of thousands on the field of battle, and ecclesiastics the blood of thousands in the dungeon and at the stake,-persecution, ambition, avarice, slavery, oppression, have all invoked to their aid the adorable name of Him who said, “If any man smite thee on the one cheek, turn to him the other also,”“Love your enemies, and pray for those who despitefully use you !" Well, Christ foretold that such would arise. And I will do you, reader, the justice to believe, that while you hate the hypocrisy, you admire the more that excellence whose name it stole. Lord Jesus! The words express the happiest fact in the history of

A glorious, a solemn fact too. There are “lords many" on the earth, to some of whom we may be in lawful subjection. But to Jesus, once the " man of sorrows," and the "servant of servants," God hath given real and universal lordship. “He is Lord of all,” “Lord of the living and the dead." To Him “every knee shall bow.” It is at present, indeed, an invisible dominion, but not always to be

It is a mysterious dominion, permitting such long ages to roll by since his ascension, and before his coming,- permitting such seeming triumphs of evil over good, of his enemies over his servants;-scoffers even raising again the old enquiry, "Where is the promise of his coming ?" Yes, it is a lordship very differently employed to what we should have supposed. . But still for this He has prepared and warned

our race.

[ocr errors]

us in his word, and “He told us before it came to pass, that when it did come to pass, we inight believe that he is the Lord of all.”

Now, are we living in the belief that Jesus is Lord ? We own that his government is a rightful one, a happy one,-one to which it is no unmanliness to bow, everywhere and in every thing,-one which we cannot obey without profit here and hereafter, nor resist or neglect without ingratitude and ruin. Do we, then, ever bethink ourselves whether we make Jesus our Lord ? He will not force himself on us. He persuades and teaches only. He tells you that He has bought you with his blood,- that no man could shew you greater love than He has done, in laying down his life for you. He asks your faith, because He has deserved it. He asks your love, because He has first loved you. He asks your obedience, because his yoke is easy and his burden light. He asks your imitation of Him, because his example is the per. fection of man. What a Lord! How worthy of every heart to choose ! How ungrateful, how foolish if we do not! Let my next thoughts, and words, and deeds, let all that will follow them, be, for life and for eternity, under thy rule, O Lord Jesus !

Once more : the day, the inevitable day, is coming, is numbering its approach,-it may be by days, it may be by months, it may be by years, it may be by tens of years, but still surely coming, when nothing whatever will be so sweet to us as to be able to use these words with truth and with faith. We must die. We must pass from this part of the lordship of Jesus into another part. “He is Lord of the dead.Oh, to feel, while passing from his dominion here to his dominion there, that He is truly my Lord, my chosen, trusted, beloved Lord, who cannot permit the solemn, untried change to harm me; but who has promised that where He is, there shall his servant be! “Absent from the body, and present with the Lord,”—“Having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better,”—such were the words of one who, through a long life of persecutions, had faith and patience to say from the bottom of his heart, “ Lord Jesus !" Reader, may we so live as to be able to say truthfully, living or dying,

“ Jesus, my Lord, I know his name,

His name is all my trust;
He will not put my soul to shame,

Nor let my hope be lost.”

ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN ? This is a momentous question, and ought to be decided. The rule of decision is God's holy word, and that alone, for the same shall judge us at the last day (John xii. 48). Many fancy that they are christians, but are not. Many profess to be christians, but they are deceived. The foolish virgins made a profession; they were not suspected; they thought they were right; they persevered until the

out."

We may

new.

Bridegroom came, and then they found that their “lamps were gone

Awful state! Fearful discovery! My friend, enquire in time. Examine yourself impartially. Take the lamp of God's word, and thoroughly investigate your condition. It is for life or death. Eternity depends on the issue. God of truth, search our inmost souls ! God of grace, thoroughly sanctify our natures !

A christian is born of God. There is no real religion without this, for real religion is a new life flowing from a new nature. change our opinions, we may alter our course, but God alone can change our hearts; and unless our hearts are changed we are not christians. The Holy Spirit, in regeneration, convinces us of sin, humbles us before God, makes us cry out for mercy, leads us to the Lord Jesus Christ, breaks our hearts in contrition, turns our souls against sin, and makes us long, pant, and pray, for holiness. All this springs from a new life, or a new nature produced within us; so that it is all natural. We have not to force ourselves to think, or to feel, or to act, we do so naturally, and without any discernible effort. We see things in a different light, we feel differently toward them, and are in a new world. Old things pass away, and all things become

Christ is our hope, our peace, our pattern, and our joy. We rest on his sacrifice, rely on his work, rejoice in his grace, and glory in his holy name. We wonder we did not see his beauty before, we grieve that we ever offended him, and we long to glorify him in every thought, word, and action. The world loses its charms, Satan his power, and death its sting. Our eyes are enlightened, our hearts are renewed, our wills are changed, our consciences are cleansed, and our course is the opposite of what it was. We were going to hell, we are now going to heaven. Reader, are you a christian ?

A christian has the Spirit of Christ. For if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his. The Holy Ghost takes possession in the name of Christ, to make us like Christ. He changes the bent of the mind. He turns the whole course of the soul. He effectually alters the disposition. He sets Christ before us as our model. He stirs up desires after conformity to him. He leads us to aim at an exact resemblance. He teaches us to pray for grace, that we may live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world. As a Spirit of faith, he leads us to believe God's word, and exercise confidence in God's faithfulness. As a Spirit of prayer, he leads us to God's throne, and helps our infirmities in prayer. As a Spirit of love, he inflames our hearts with love to God, the Saviour, to the saints, and to sin. ners around us. As a Spirit of power, he enables us to resist Satan, overcome the world, crucify the flesh with its passions and lusts, and to plead and prevail with God. He dwells in us, works in us, sancti. fies us, and devotes us to the Saviour's praise. Reader, are you a christian?

A christian is like Christ. He is anointed with the Spirit of God. He is the temple of God. He is formed to shew forth the praises of God. He lives for God. He walks with God. He does the works of God. Jesus is his pattern and perfect example. He often compares himself with Christ, deploring his defects, seeking grace that he may more exactly conform himself to his will, and desiring to copy his example in all things. He lives in Christ, and Christ lives in him. The word of Christ is his law, the frown of Christ is his bell, the smile of Christ is his heaven, and the glory of Christ is his end. He is a living epistle of Christ for all to read, and a copy of Christ for all to admire. He delights to honour Christ, rejoices to hear him exalted, and can never be satisfied until he is exactly like Christ in body, soul, and spirit. He is crucified with Christ to the world. He is risen with Christ to newness of life. He has ascended with Christ, in spirit, to the Father. He bears about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus, and seeks that the life also of Jesus should be manifest in his mortal flesh (2 Cor. iv. 10, 11). He is a man of another nature, walking by another rule, living for another end, and travelling to another country to what others are. Reader, are you a christian?

Let no man deceive himself; conviction is not conversion, reformation is not sanctification, profession is not possession. The doctrines of christianity may be embraced, and Christ himself be rejected. A change may take place in a man's conduct, and yet there may be no change in his heart. We may be moral, but not spiritual; amiable, but not holy; other creatures than we were, but not new creatures in Christ Jesus. We are for Christ, or for ourselves. We are saints, or sin.

We are believers, or infidels. We have the life of God within us, or we are dead in trespasses and sins. We have passed from death unto life, or we are under condemnation. Christ is in us, or we are reprobates. Which is it? Ah! which is it ? Eternity may depend on the reply. Lord, search us as with candles; and do what thou wilt with us, only make us christians indeed. Byrom-Street, Liverpool.

JAMES SMITH.

ners.

THE DEATH OF LOUIS PHILIPPE.

Providence has again placed before us a lesson to all. Our last number was still in the press when another of the great ones of the earth was summoned almost suddenly to quit it. Louis Philippe, so lately king of the French, who in early youth fought, and bravely too, in the wars of the Revolution, for his country, who afterwards wandered long and fared hard while unjustly exiled from her shores, to whom this island, and most countries of Europe, and even America, had furnished shelter, who returned home with the restoration of the Bourbons, and who, upon the exclusion of that family from the French throne in 1830, ascended it himself as citizen king, who governed

« PreviousContinue »