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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 74

The Cry of the Children

The Cry of the Children.

But the real crux of the problem is that the drunkard too offers others dependent upon him, and so it is among the women and [unclear: ch] that we must look for the greatest number of innocent sufferers, for the [unclear: gre] mass of helpless, hopeless, unmerited misery. The infliction of pain [unclear: app] to be a necessity of both human and divine government: the whimpering passion which is sometimes worked up in a democracy for some [unclear: cons] criminal condemned to suffer seems to me a contemptible thing, and [unclear: ev] the carnage of the battle-field I can see redeeming features. But [unclear: any] more wantonly and excruciatingly cruel than the lot of the drunkards [unclear: far] find it difficult to conceive. In a beautiful prose-poem which the [unclear: Rev.] D. Hird puts into the mouth of "the angel that guards human [unclear: li] mourns human misery," this thought is very admirably expressed:—

I mourn over Earth's cruelty—its slavery that tortures—its crime that [unclear: bla] suffering that agonises; yet that mournfulness in often the sadness of [unclear: aut] harvest. But I pour the tears of impotent pity, and I bow in the delirium of [unclear: f] over the drunkard's child.*

We are wont to apeak of Moloch—

Molocb, horrid king, besmear'd with blood

Of human sacrifice and parents' tears—

as the ideal type of barbarous and purposeless cruelty; yet Moloch [unclear: hi] page 19 was a god of mercy compared with this god whom some Christians worship and a majority of thorn tolerate. In the worship of Moloch the young and innocent life was offered up as a sacrifice, and through the fire it passed by a quick death, bach to its source, unspotted by the world—a senseless, fiendish [unclear: ughter] certainly, yet containing this element of good, that nothing but an everpowering sense of duty, however perverted, could have dictated such a violation of natural affection among a race so dominated by family love and pride as the ancient Jews. And an order to prevent those feelings from asserting themselves, the priests took care that the victims1 cries should be drowned the noise of drums and timbrels loud." What is it that renders Christian community deaf to the far sadder cry of the drunkard's children [unclear: its] midst Partly the chink in the public coffers of the money which we [unclear: w] from the traffic as our share of the plunder—money which is as surely the price of blood as were those thirty pieces of silver with which the very [unclear: s] who struck and gloried in the ghastly bargain refused to pollute their treasury; partly the chink in private coffers of the profits of the same traffic; but mostly the Siren song of pleasure or the thick wax of selfish doth which closes the ears of professing followers of Christ to all joys and sorrows but their own. No sense of duty inspires the votaries of the modern Moloch; no swiftness redeems the cruelty of the victims, fate. Long [unclear: ngering] years of shame and horror make up a far sadder portion than the quick death which closes all "ere sin could blight or sorrow fade"; and a self-denying loyalty even to the bloodiest superstition stands far higher in the scale of motives than a nerveless bondage to apathy and appetite. Moloch-worship begina to look quite respectable when you place it side by side with the ritual of the Christian's drink-god.

* See Pt. iv. Chap. 7 of The Temperance Reader, by Rev. J. Dennis Hird Cassell and [unclear: o] C.E.T.S: Is 6d)—a book with an unattractive title and written primarily for the [unclear: y] containing the best all-round view of the problem that I know of within the same [unclear: co] exhibiting i u places a literary power of a very high order.