SIGN THE PLEDGE?
important means by which so much has been done, has been the use of the Pledge.
Humanly speaking, if it had not been for the Pledge, the present sentiment in
favour of Total Abstinence would not have been possible. And it will be a great
mistake if the signing of the Pledge should ever fall into disuse, or become an
object of contempt. We must not kick away the ladder by which we have climbed
yet in some quarters there is a disposition to think and speak lightly of the
says one, "I can keep teetotal without signing your Pledge."
says another, "it is childish to sign away your freedom."
may be all very well," says a third, "for some to do it, but it is not
so for me."
then, should we sign the Pledge of Total Abstinence?
the Pledge: it is your protest against Strong Drink. It is time for every
thoughtful person to enter a solemn protest against Strong Drink, which every
year is inflicting such awful havoc among our race. Who can be indifferent to
the woes it brings on hearts and homes, on villages and towns, on countries and
continents? Well may the Hindoos call it "Shame water." There is not a
house in which you may not find its slain. There is not a newspaper that does
not record its diabolical outrages. There is not a public officer that could not
bear damning evidence against it.
can not do much, but let us do what we can. We have a voice, a right to cry aye
or nay, a power to assent or protest. Let us use them by all means on the right
side. And if we can not express our feelings in any other way, let us at least
sign a solemn declaration on paper that we will never again touch the cruelest
foe that ever revelled in human tears and blood.
the Pledge: it will benefit your health. Alcohol is not more necessary to health
than any other chemical or medicinal agent. It excites the heart, hinders
digestion, disturbs the liver, and stupefies the brain. It gives a momentary
glow and stimulus, but you have to pay for them afterwards by an inevitable
lessening of vital heat and animal power and mental force. Even in moderate
quantities it acts as an irritant and a poison.
athlete, in training for a boat race, a prize fight or a running match, must
absolutely forego the use of Alcohol; and if men do not want it for such
extraordinary exertions, why do you want it for ordinary ones? Recent English
expeditions in Abyssinia, the Transvaal and Egypt, proved that if a General
wishes his troops to perform forced marches, or to undergo unusual fatigues, he
must substitute coffee for grog. The extremes of the Arctic circle and the
Tropical sun are best endured on cold water, as the experience of many explorers
and travellers proves. The tables of Insurance Offices show that one hundred
moderate drinkers die for every seventy three abstainers, and many offices have
a special section to give abstainers the benefits of insurance at a less price.
would be a perfect revelation to some who read these words if they would give
Total Abstinence a trial. Your appetites would be better, your minds would be
clearer, your nerves would be stronger, and your whole system would get fitness
the Pledge: it will save your time. We have only one short life to live,
and we can not afford to fling the diamond moments into the rushing stream
beside us. How many days in the fore part of the week are spent by our working
classes in saloons which are a dead loss to them and their families and the
country! How many hours are spent by clerks and commercial travellers in the
course of the week, at the bars of railway stations and restaurants, which might
be sown with the seeds of golden harvest! How many evenings are worse than
wasted in convivial company, which might be spent in innocent and health giving
recreation, or in acquiring knowledge which would unlock many a shut door! From
all this you would escape, if you signed the Pledge.
the Pledge: it will save your purse. Sit down and calculate how much you
spend per day in Drink, not only for yourself, but also for those whom you
treat. It will amount to a respectable sum in the course of the year. Add to
this the money you might earn in the time you now lose. Add to this all the sums
squandered wastefully in the company into which habits of drinking lead you. And
when all is put together, would it not make a nice nest egg against a rainy day,
or for illness and old age?
often say to those who sign my pledge cards that there is a $500 note hidden
inside the double cardboard.
the Pledge: it will save you from temptation. You have no intention of becoming
a drunkard; you scorn the thought. But there is a risk of your becoming one, so
long as you tamper with the drink. You take it now for the sake of society, but
you will come to take it for its own sake. You can not be sure that daily dram
drinking may not do for you what it has done for myriads, in exciting a thirst,
now perhaps dormant, but which, when once aroused, will be unsatiable! Wise men,
good men, strong men have been mastered by that awful thirst, who no more
expected such a thing than you do. Is it not folly, then, for you to run
the risk of creating it? Why not stop at once, before that thirst has been
tell me that it seems hard for you to do without the Drink. Then that is a sure
sign that the accursed appetite has got a foothold within you. Spring off the
car ere it rushes down the incline, Run the boat into a creek ere it is caught
by the rapids above the falls. Force the cloven foot back out of the door before
the demon has time to thrust his whole body into your heart and life. Do it at
once. Do it now. You ask not to be led into temptation, then don't go into it.
Saloons are well called "shades " and "vaults." They are the
shades of death, and vault for the burial of all that is noblest and best in
men. Avoid them. Pass them by. Refuse to enter them unless the Good Shepherd
sends you there to find a lost sheep.
the Pledge: it will make a definite starting point in your history. In all efforts after a better life it is well to have some
landmark or time mark, to which to look back and from which to date. There is a
sort of satisfaction in being able to point to a mental stone cairn, or crease
line, or white painted post, standing out on the moorland of life, and to say:
to that point I lived a selfish, evil life, but since then I have tried to run
fair and well, by the help of God."
some it is a sermon. With others it is a birthday, a death, an entry in the
diary, or a New Year's Eve. With others it is the visit of some Gospel
Temperance advocate to their town. But in many cases, the same purpose is served
by signing the Pledge. The date of that Pledge card is a birthday, a new start,
a beginning of a new era in the story of the soul; and it very often leads to
the second step of faith in Christ.
the Pledge: it makes a strong obligation. When a man gives up the Drink, he must
do all that can be done to strengthen his resolution. If he simply makes a
resolution, he feels at liberty to withdraw from it if he choose. But if he
double knots his resolution with a solemn promise to which he has put his hand,
then he feels bound by the most solemn obligations. He can not think of breaking
his word. He dare not violate his plighted troth. And in the moment of
temptation, his self respect, his love for truth, his desire to be a man of his
word, his written vow, will be a strong reason for saying No.
gentleman who signed the Pledge card recently said that during the whole of the
next day he carried it in his pocket, and took it out fifteen times to remind
him that he had put his hand to a promise which he dared not violate, and could
the Pledge: it will give a sufficient answer to to those who tempt you to drink.
There is no answer that a man can give so good as this. If he refuses because he
is hot, he will be advised to drink to get cool. If he refuses because he is
cold, he will be recommended to drink to get warm. If he refuses because he can
not afford it, his companion will gladly treat him. If he refuses because he is
not well, there is no ailment to which flesh is heir for which intoxicating
drinks are not prescribed as a certain cure. Men who are well drink till they
are ill; and then drink to get themselves well again. None of these excuses
avail, but if a man says, "I have signed the Pledge," they may think
him a fool, but they can not say that he has not given a sufficient reason; and
if they are true men themselves, they dare not ask him to break his word. If a
man asks you to drink after you have signed the pledge, he is no true friend; he
is doing the devil's work. He is certain to turn round and insult you after you
have done his will, because he will have lost the last fragment of respect for
are some men who must have a reason to give others for doing as they do. Here at
least is a clear, straightforward, intelligible reason, which puts an end to
controversy, and settles the matter forever "I have signed the
the Pledge: it keeps it from becoming the badge of a reclaimed drunkard. If the Pledge were only signed by men who had been drunkards, but who
were trying to live a new life, it would become the badge of reclaimed
drunkards, and it would soon cease to be signed by this class of men who need it
most. This would be a great calamity.
dare not sign the Pledge," said a young doctor to a friend who was trying
to get him to do so, as a means of saving him from ruin.
not?" was his friend's reply.
if people heard that I had done so, they would say that there must have been a
screw loose in my character, and that I was a reclaimed drunkard."
said his friend, "they never can say that, for it has been signed by
thousands of thousands on whose character there has never been a stain."
answer reassured him. He took the Pledge, and is now an earnest Christian worker
in one of our large towns.
may not need to sign the Pledge for yourself, but sign it that you may give it
the benefit, the weight, the standing of your own moral character. If every one
of reputable and stainless character were to stand aloof, the Pledge would be a
hopeless failure. Every respectable Christian person who signs it is like one of
the corks floating on the surface of the sea, helping to sustain the heavy nets
laden with fish.
the Pledge: it makes it easier for others to do the same. We are creatures of
fashion. We can not help it. We are made so. What one does, the others are apt
to do. There's many an eager eye looking to see what the reader of these lines
is going to do. If he signs the Pledge, that boy, that companion, that servant,
will do the same; but if he refuses to do so, it may be that that waiting one
will also refuse, and that refusal will lead to ruin.
eyes are watching us than we think. More lives than we know are on the balance,
waiting for the feather of our example to turn them this way or that. Are we
right in leaving anything undone that might save one for whom Christ died? We
must use all means to save some, though the use of the means compel us to forego
some boasted liberty, or some loved indulgence.
say that you have no influence. It is only an excuse, you have; you would not
like another to say that.
have no influence," said a man to one who asked him to take the Pledge for
the sake of others.
wife came up at that moment and said, "That's true, you have no more
influence than a cat."
you say that again, woman," said he, "I will knock you down."
course you have influence. Use it well.
the Pledge: it will win you friends. We all need friends, and if we have given
up those who gather around the Drink, we need others, and we are most likely to
find these wherever there are Pledge cards to be had for signature. It is all
very well to resolve to give up Drink and to keep the vow secretly; but it is
much better to take the Pledge in the presence of one or more persons, who shall
bear witness to what they have seen, and who will be bound to you in the bonds
of a new and common brotherhood, because they have done the same thing, and are
pledged to the same cause.
you like, take the Pledge, for a short time only, as you take the lease of a
house. You can easily renew it again and again. Or, better still, promise to
abstain, by God's help, from all intoxicating Drinks, as a Beverage, until you
return your pledge card to the friend from whom you have received it. This will
give you an opportunity of relinquishing it when you choose, and it will give
him an opportunity of speaking earnestly with you when your purpose is
I may be forced to drink. If you are, you will not violate your Pledge.
You only promise to abstain from intoxicants as a beverage. If it is poured down
your throat by force, or when you are fainting; if the physician compels you to
take it; if you take it unawares in some dish of cookery; your Pledge is not
broken. It is not you that break it.
I have taken it, and broken more than once. Then take it again, in humble
dependence on the Saviour, "who has been manifested to destroy the works of
if not all, Total Abstinence Pledges lay stress on the words GOD HELPING ME.
These words are the heart of all. If they are not felt deep down in the soul,
the Pledge is not good for much, it rests on mere human strength. But when God
is appealed to, the case is altered. Divine power pours into the spirit which is
lifted up to Him in prayer and trust. Angel hands are stretched out to hold back
the erring feet. A holy garrison is put inside the weak and trembling nature to
hold it against the foe. Ask the Lord Jesus to forgive the past. Ask Him to save
you from your enemy. Ask Him to shield you in the day of battle. Ask Him, when
the door is nearly battered in, to put His foot against it and keep it closely
shut. He is able to keep you from stumbling. He is able to keep that which you
commit to Him. He is able to make you more than a conqueror. Put yourself into
His hands before you leave your room in the morning. Keep looking to Him all
day. Praise Him for His grace each night.
that, that you keep mumbling to yourself?" said a working man to another at
a little distance from him in the same shop.
keep on saying 'Lord help me,' " was the reply; "I say it day and
night. It is the only way I know of to keep down my thirst for the Drink."
heart, my friends. The battle may be sharp, but victory is sure. And when once
you stand firm on the rock, be on the alert to rescue others from the raging
waters of strong Drink.