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The New Zealand Evangelist

Dr. Forbes and Total Abstinence.—

Dr. Forbes and Total Abstinence.—

Let us say, however, in limine, that whilst taking upon ourselves the advocacy of these doctrines, we by no means wish to identify ourselves with all that has been written and uttered by the disciples of the total abstinence system, * * * . We think it right fearlessly to state, that we cannot with them affirm, that we consider alcohol in all its forms to be nothing else than a poison. We cannot conscientiously go the length of denying that under any circumstances, whether of health or disease, the administration of alcohol can be justified. We believe that if the whole world could be really temperate in the use of fermented liquors, there would be no need of abstinence societies. But we advocate their principles, because sad experience has shown that a large proportion of mankind cannot be temperate in the use of fermented liquors, and that nothing short of total abstinence can prevent the continuance, in the rising generation, of the terrible evils which we have at present to deplore; because experience has further shown that the reformation of those who are habitually intemperate cannot be accomplished by any means short of entire abstinence from fermented liquors; and because experience has also proved that this reformation cannot be carried to its requisite extent without the moral influence of the educated classes. Such influence can only be afforded by example. There is no case in which its superiority over mere precept is more decided and obvious than in this—‘I practise total abstinence myself,’ is worth a thousand exhortations; and the miserable failure of all the advocates who cannot employ this argument should lead all those whose position calls upon them to exert their influence (and who are they who do not possess some means of thus doing good!) to a serious consideration of the claims which their duty to society should set up in opposition to their individual feelings of taste or comfort.