States, this is the question of questions now before the
minds of the people. Thirty years ago, the agitating
question was, "Shall man be free from bondage to his fel¬
low-man?" Today the question is, "Shall men be slaves
to a bondage more degrading, if possible, than human
bondage?" Moreover, if we add dignity, this is a dignified
as well as an important subject. For though new argu¬
ments may be produced no stronger words can be found
than given in the oldest books of inspired Scripture.
Ministers, prophets, priests, kings, rulers, religious and
civil, of old are repeatedly warned, admonished and for¬
bidden to touch wine or strong drink. It is encouraging
to report that we are making progress in forming temper¬
ance habits not only as a race but as a denomination. For
whereas we are informed that in the first days after free¬
dom it was almost impossible to find a Baptist preacher in
our convention's territory that did not drink, and felt it
the right thing to do, today we have scores of our pastors
who not only do not drink themselves, but speak cut pub¬
licly and bravely against the evils of intemperance, even
preaching against it from the pulpits. The result is, we
are reaping the harvest in acquiring homes, living in bet-
ter'houses, furnished as never before, dressing better, and
meeting our public and private obligations more punc¬
tually. We are further encouraged because we believe
that the sentiment of this convention has contributed
largely to the growth of temperance among its members.
The following are the reasons given by a brother minister
for being temperate : He said we ought not to indulge in-
the use of whisky. First. Because we know it has killed
our fellow-men, and believe it will kill us. Second. Be¬
cause it poisons the system and chills the blood. Third.
Because the prophet's voice, the preacher of old, is heard
against it, and I, being a preacher, must ever do the same.
Fourth. Because God who stands above all speaks
against it. Solomon says it is a cheat; please don't let it
cheat you, my brethren, out of your influence, and rob you
of your soul. But with all the advancement we are mak¬
ing there is yet room for much improvement among us.
This improvement must begin in us who are leaders of the
people. If we wish our people to be temperate, let us,