was crazy to go to sea. At last my mother consented I should seek my fortune in New York.’
He told how she stood on one side the garden-gate and he on the other, when, with his bundle on his arm, he was ready to walk to the next town.
She said to him: ‘My boy, I don't know anything about towns, and I never saw the sea; but they tell me those great towns are sinks of wickedness, and make thousands of drunkards.
Now, promise me you'll never drink a drop of liquor.’
He said, ‘I laid my hand in hers and promised, as I looked into her eyes for the last time.
She died soon after.
I've been on every sea, seen the worst kinds of life and men. They laughed at me as a milksop, and wanted to know if I was a coward; but when they offered me liquor, I saw my mother across the gate, and I never drank a drop.
It has been my sheet-anchor.
I owe all to that.
Would you like to take that pledge?’
My companion took it, and he added: “It has saved me. I have a fine ship, wife and children at home, and I have helped others.”
How far that little candle threw its beams!
That anxious mother on a Vermont hillside saved two men to virtue and usefulness; how many more, He who sees all can alone tell.
But our agitation of the Drink Question
is “bulldozing” and “intimidation.”
This is only an unmanly whine.
What is the pulpit?
Does it not take admitted truths and press them home on conscience?
Or does it not seek to prove principles the listener does not admit, and then urge him to their practice?
Does it not criticise and affirm and denounce, seeking to waken the indifferent, convince the doubting, and claim consistent action of all?
Does it wait until the sinner acknowledges its principles before it denounces his action as a sin?