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C.N. Douglas, comp.  Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical.  1917.
 
Talmage
 
  A lawyer is sometimes required to search titles, and the client who thinks he has good right to an estate, puts the papers in his hands, and the attorney goes into the public records and finds everything right for three or four years back; but after a time he comes to a break in the title. So he finds that the man who supposed he owned it owns not an acre of the ground which belongs to someone else. I trace the title of this world from century to century until I find the whole right vested in God. Now to whom did he give it? To his own children. All are yours.  1
  A monster such as never ranged African thicket or Hindustan jungle hath traced this land, and with bloody maw hath strewn the continent with the mangled carcasses of whole generations; and there are tens of thousands of fathers and mothers who could hold up the garment of their slain boy, truthfully exclaiming, “It is my son’s coat; that evil beast, Intemperance, hath devoured him.”  2
  Almighty God! If it be thy will that man should suffer, whatever seemeth good in thy sight impose upon me. Let the bread of affliction be given to me to eat. Take from me the friends of my confidence. Let the cold hut of poverty be my dwelling-place and the wasting hand of disease inflict its painful torments. Let me sow in the whirlwind and reap in the storm. Let those have me in derision who are younger than I. Let the passing away of my welfare be like the fleeting of a cloud and the shouts of my enemies like the rushing of waters. When I anticipate good, let evil annoy me. When I look for light, let darkness come upon me. Do all this, but save me, merciful God! Save me from the fate of a drunkard.  3
  As long as you make drinking respectable, drinking customs will prevail, and the plowshare of death, drawn by terrible disasters, will go on turning up this whole continent, from end to end, with the long, deep, awful furrow of drunkards’ graves.  4
  Drunkenness! Does it not jingle the burglar’s key? Does it not whet the assassin’s knife? Does it not cock the highwayman’s pistol? Does it not wave the incendiary’s torch? Does it not send the physician reeling into the sickroom; and the minister with his tongue thick into the pulpit? Did not an exquisite poet, from the very top of his fame, fall a gibbering sot, into the gutter, on his way to be married to one of the fairest daughters of New England, and at the very hour the bride was decking herself for the altar; and did he not die of delirium tremens, almost unattended, in a hospital? Tamerlane asked for one hundred and sixty thousand skulls with which to build a pyramid to his own honor. He got the skulls, and built the pyramid. But if the bones of all those who have fallen as a prey to dissipation could be piled up, it would make a vaster pyramid.  5
  He (Death) carries a black flag, and he takes no prisoners. He digs a trench across the hemispheres and fills it with the carcasses of nations. Fifty times would the world have been depopulated had not God kept making new generations. Fifty times the world would have swung lifeless through the air—no man on the mountain, no man on the sea—an abandoned ship plowing through immensity. Again and again has He done this work with all generations. He is a monarch as well as a conqueror; His palace a sepulcher; His fountains the falling tears of a world. Blessed be God! in the light of this Easter morning I see the prophecy that His scepter shall be broken and His palace shall be demolished. The hour is coming when all who are in their graves shall come forth. Christ risen, we shall rise. Jesus is “the first-fruits of them that slept.”  6
  I move for a creed for all our denominations made out of Scripture quotations, pure and simple. That would be impregnable against infidelity and Appolyonic assault. That would be beyond human criticism. Let us make it simpler and plainer for people to get into the Kingdom of God.  7
  I wish that I could marshall all the young to an appreciation of the fact that you have an earnest work in life and your amusements and recreations are only to help you along in that work.  8
  If a man is right, all the bombardment of the world for five, ten, twenty, forty years will only strengthen him in his position. So that all you have to do is to keep yourself right. Never mind the world. Let it say what it will. It can do you no damage. But as soon as it is whispered “he drinks,” and it can be proved, he begins to go down. What clerk can get a position with such a reputation? What store wants him? What Church of God wants him for a member? What dying man wants him for an executor? “He drinks!”  9
  If the bones of all those who have fallen as a prey to intemperance could be piled up it would make a vast pyramid. Who will gird himself for the journey and try with me to scale this mountain of the dead—going up miles high on human carcasses to find still other peaks far above, mountain above mountain, white with the bones of drunkards.  10
  It was for the glory that was set before Him that Christ endured the humiliation and suffering of the cross. Let us keep our eyes fixed steadily on the crown immortal, and then our sacrifices and services, and sufferings for Christ’s cause, will seem light and trivial in comparison.  *  *  *  The seal of the Sanhedrim, a regiment of soldiers from the town, a floor of rock, a roof of rock, a wall of rock, a niche of rock, cannot keep Christ in the crypt. Though you pile upon us all the boulders of the mountains, you cannot keep us down. The door of the tomb will be lifted from its hinges and flung flat in the dust.  11
  Logic has its use and metaphysics has its use, but neither of them is of much help in the making of a creed.  12
  Oh! if you could only hear Intemperance with drunkards’ bones drumming on the top of the wine cask the Dead March of immortal souls, you would go home and kneel down and pray God that rather than your children should ever become the victims of this evil habit, you might carry them out to Greenwood and put them down in the last slumber, waiting for the flowers of spring to come over the grave—sweet prophecies of the resurrection. God hath a balm for such a wound, but what flower of comfort ever grew on the blasted heath of a drunkard’s sepulcher?  13
  One good, hearty laugh is a bombshell exploding in the right place, while spleen and discontent are a gun that kicks over the man who shoots it off.  14
  Social dissipation, as witnessed in the ball-room, is the abettor of pride, the instigator of jealousy, it is the sacrificial altar of health, it is the defiler of the soul, it is the avenue of lust and it is the curse of every town in America.  15
  Take not into your ear that scum of hell that people call tittle-tattle. Whosoever willingly listens to a slander is equally guilty with the one who tells it, and an old writer says they ought both to be hanged; the one by the tongue and the other by the ear. Do not smile upon such a spaniel, lest like a pleased dog, he puts his dirty paw upon you.  16
  The costliest thing on earth is the drunkard’s song. It costs ruin of body. It costs ruin of mind. It costs ruin of soul. Go right down among the residential streets of any city and you can find once beautiful and luxurious homesteads that were expended in this destructive music. The lights have gone out in the drawing-room the pianos have ceased the pulsation of their keys, the wardrobe has lost its last article of appropriate attire. The Belshazzarean feast has left nothing but the broken pieces of the crushed chalices. There it stands, the ghastliest thing on earth, the remnant of a drunkard’s home. The costliest thing on earth is sin. The most expensive of all music is the Song of the Drunkards. It is the highest tariff of nations—not a protective tariff, but a tariff of doom, a tariff of woe, a tariff of death.  17
  The pen is the lever that moves the world.  18
  The rum fiend would like to go and hang up a skeleton in your beautiful house so that, when you opened the front door to go in, you would see it in the hall; and, when you sat at your table you would see it hanging from the wall; and, when you opened your bedroom you would find it stretched upon your pillow; and, waking at night, you would feel its cold hand passing over your face and pinching at your heart. There is no home so beautiful but it may be devastated by the awful curse.  19
  What may we expect of people who work all day and dance all night? After a while they will be thrown on society nervous, exhausted imbeciles.  20
 
 
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