« PreviousContinue »
since. Thousands have had their property, reputation, and lives sacrificed, under the hissing sound of a Judas kiss.
Caution has been termed the parent of safety, but has often been baffled by a Judas kiss. The most cautious have been the dupes and victims of the basest deceivers. We should be extremely careful who we confide in, and then we will often find ourselves mistaken. Let adversity come, then we may know more of our friends. Nine hundred and ninety-nine out of a thousand, will probably show that they were sunshine friends, and will escape as for their lives, like rats from a barn in flames ! Ten to one, those who have enjoyed the most sunshine, will be the first to forsake, censure, and reproach. Friendship, based entirely on self, ends in desertion, the moment the selfish ends are accomplished, or frustrated.
In forming friendships, let the following cautions be observed, as general land-marks. Beware of the flatterer, who takes special care to refer to your beauty, talents, wealth, influence, power, or piety. Beware of those whose tongues are smooth as oil, they are often as drawn swords. Beware of those whose bewitching smiles are enchantment; like the wily serpent, charming the bird, they may contemplate your ruin. Beware of those who are fond of communicating secrets; they expect to obtain yours by reciprocity, and will employ some others to help keep them. Beware of fretful disputatious persons; of the envious, the jealous, the proud, and the vicious.
Beware of the fickle and unstable who are ever perched on the pivot of uncertainty. Beware of the man who invites you to participate in what are styled
"innocent amusements," which often lead to the broad road of ruin. Beware of the man who despises the old fashioned customs of frugality and economy—they are the basis of earthly prosperity. Beware of the man who suddenly commences shaking hands with those he had before considered below him. He has an office in his eye and wants your vote, but is unworthy of it. In the choice and in the preservation of friends, ever remember that caution is requisite at all times, and under all circumstances.
Finally, beware of all those who do not respect the Bible and the Christian religion, the firmest basis on which the superstructure of friendship can be erected.
The gathering number, as it moves along,
EVERY device that suddenly changes money or property from one person to another without a quid pro quo, or leaving an equivalent, produces individual emharrassment—often extreme misery. More pernicious is that plan, if it changes property and money from the hands of the many to the few.
Gambling does this, and often inflicts a still greater injury, by poisoning its victims with vice, that eventually lead to crimes of the darkest hue. Usually, the money basely filched from its victims, is the smallesi part of the injury inflicted. It almost inevitably leads to intemperance. Every species of offence, on the black
catalogue of crime, may be traced to the gambling table, as the entering wedge to its perpetration.
This alarming evil, is as wide spread as our country. It is practised from the humblest water craft that floats on our canals—up to the majestic steamboat on our mighty rivers; from the lowest groggeries that curse the community, up to the most fashionable hotels that claim respectability—from the hod carrier in his bespattered rags, up to the honorable members of congress in their ruffles. Like a mighty maelstrom, its motion, at the outside, is scarcely perceptible, but soon increases to a fearful velocity; suddenly the awful centre is reached—the victim is lost in the vortex. Interested friends may warn, the wife may entreat, with all the eloquence of tears; children may cling and cry for bread-once in the fatal snare, the victim of gamblers is seldom saved. He combines the deafness of the adder with the desperation of a maniac, and rushes on, regardless of danger-reckless of consequences.
To the fashionable of our country, who play cards and other games as an innocent amusement, we may trace the most aggravated injuries resulting from gambling. It is there that young men of talents, education, and wealth, take the degree of entered apprentice. The example of men in high life, men in public stations and responsible offices, has a powerful and corrupting influence on society, and does much to increase the evil, and forward, as well as sanction the highhanded robbery of fine dressed black legs. The gambling hells in our cities, tolerated and patronized, are a disgrace to any nation bearing a Christian name, and would be banished from a Pagan community.
Gambling assumes a great variety of forms, from the
flipping of a cent in the bar room for a glass of whiskey, up to the splendidly furnished faro bank room, where men are occasionally swindled to the tune of “ten thonsand a year,” and sometimes a much larger amount. In addition to these varieties, we have legalized lotteries and fancy stock brokers, and among those who manage them, professors of religion are not unfrequently found.
Thousands, who carefully shun the monster under any other form, pay a willing tribute to the tyrant, at the shrine of lotteries. Persons from all classes, throw their money into this vault of uncertainty, this whirlpool of speculation, with a less chance to regain it, than when at the detested faro bank. It is here that the poor man spends his last dollar—it is here that the rich often become poor, for a man has ten chances to be killed by lightning, where he has one to draw a capital prize. The ostensible objects of lotteries are always praiseworthy. Meeting houses, hospitals, seminaries of learning, internal improvement, some laudable enterprize, may always be found, first and foremost, in a lottery scheme—the most ingenious and most fatal gull trap, ever invented by man or devil.
Some, who are so fortunate as to escape all the gambling gins that have been referred to, get caught in the most refined, and not the least dangerous—the capstone of the climax—that makes awful sweeps among the upper ten thousand-STOCK GAMBLING. This system is as pernicious in principle as the others
as dangerous to those few who have the means to sport in stocks, but, fortunately, the meshes of the net are so large, that the vast multitude of small fish are in no danger from this quarter. All the other seines will hold, even minnows.
Gaming covers in darkness, and often blots out all the nobler powers of the heart, paralyzes its sensibilities to human wo, severs the sacred ties that bind man to man, to woman, to family, to community, to morals, to religion, to social order, and to country. It transforms men to brutes, desperadoes, maniacs, misanthropists; and strips human nature of all its native dignity. The gamester forfeits the happiness of this life, and endures the penalties of sin in both worlds. His profession is the scavenger of avarice, haggard and filthy, badly fed, poorly clad, and worse paid.
Let me entreat all to shun the monster, under all his borrowed and deceptive forms. Remember, that gambling for amusement, is the wicket gate into the labyrinth, and when once in, you may find it difficult to get out. Ruin is marked, in blazing capitals, over the door of the gambler-his hell is the vestibule to that eternal hell, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. If you regard your own, and the happiness of your family and friends, and the salvation of your immortal soul, recoil from even the shadow of a shade, reflected by this heaven-daring, heart-breaking, soul-destroying, fashionable, but ruinous vice.
The man who can analyze Genius, and, as a chemist, in his laboratory, show, to a demonstration, its component parts, or, to speak comparatively, even penetrate its cuticle, or detect its oxygen, may next analyze the wind, put the thunder-cloud in his breeches pocket, and quaff lightning for a beverage. We may think, see, talk, and write upon the triumphant achieve