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Oliver N Bacon.

A history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) online

. (page 15 of 22)
Online LibraryOliver N BaconA history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 15 of 22)
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land.

The Massachusetts Grand Lodge was established in Boston, De-
cember 27, 5769, and descended by Masonic transmission from the
Grand Master of Scotland. On the 19th of June, 5792, a Grand
Masonic Union was formed by these two Grand Lodges, and all dis-
tinctions between ancient and modern Masons were abolished. The
Lodges of Massachusetts were divided into twelve districts, each
having a District Deputy Grand Master. The Lodge now at Natick
was first organized at Watertown, thence removed to Newton, thence
to Natick. It is designated the Meridian Lodge, and contains about
fifty members.

The Takawampait Lodge of Odd Fellows was instituted at Natick,
February 18th, 1845, for the object, as expressed in their Constitu-
tion, of aifording assistance to each other in the hour of sickness,
and of cultivating the feelings of friendship, love, and truth among
the members. " They are taught to consider themselves as a band
of brothers, and hence, to whatever part of the globe an Odd Fellow
may travel, should difficulty overtake him, he is sure of assistance
from any other member of the Order he may chance to meet."

* This reduced to common time would be A. D. 1733.



HISTORY OF NATICK. 165

A twin brother of the two societies last named, is the Cochituate
Division of the Sons of Temperance. It was established December
11, 1848, for the purpose of shielding each other from the evils of
intemperance, of affording assistance in case of sickness, and
elevating the character of its members, as men. One of the first
rules of the order is, that no member shall use as a beverage any
spirituous or malt liquors, wine or cider.

The notice of this association is a proper introduction to the history
of the temperance reform itself in town, without which no history
of the place would be complete.

Natick claims in this great moral reform of the age, ever to have
been found first among the foremost. Unyielding friends of the
cause, now surrounded by hundreds of supporters, still remain in the
field, after having battled with and defeated assailants of all descrip-
tions. They have regarded it as a contest involving the lives of
millions, as a stern struggle to seize upon and discover the best
method of promoting the highest interests of the race ; and when in
the commencement they were told they were meddling with that in
which they had no concern, they retorted that the well-being
of their children, the happiness and respectability of their brothers
and friends, were matters of their own, in which they had a vital in-
terest. When they had made another step and were met with the
plea of moral suasion and danger of reaction, they have given
another turn to the screw, and retorted, that moral suasion was for
those who needed to be convinced, and that reaction was always
weaker than the action. They have planted themselves on the truth,
that the traffic was productive of criminality and sin, and have needed
no farther incentives to apply to it the usual remedies for such evils.

When they have been told, farther along, that individual rights and
personal privileges were endangered, they replied that no man had a
right to injure himself or others, and that personal privileges were
constantly being infringed in the progress of truth and right.

They have at different times grasped the hand of the Washingto-
nian, then lamented his downfall, greeted the " Fifteen Gallon Law,"
mourned at its repeal, and again been cheered by the enactment of
the Maine Law.

We have had placed in our hands a curious document, relating to
the temperance reformation in this place, prior to the commencement
of the present century, — " Two sermons of Rev. Mr. Badger's, on



166 HISTORY OF NATICK.

the subject of Intemperance." It -will be recollected that Mr. Bad-
ger left preaching in 1799, so that these sermons must have been
deUvered before 1800. We give the substance of them.

" Ephesians 5 : 18. 'And be not drunk with wine, wherein is
excess.' The Ephesians, in common with other Gentiles before their
conversion to the faith of the Gospel, were addicted to a variety of
enormous sins. Among these intemperance was not the least.

Though they had renounced the errors of their heathen state, they
were still exposed to many temptations, and liable, when off their
guard, to fall into those sins, in which, before they embraced Christi-
anity, they had freely indulged. The apostle, therefore, in this
chapter, and in other parts of this epistle, more than hints at several
of their old enormities, enters repeated cautions against them, and
exhorts to the practice of those duties which their new profession laid
them under peculiar obligation to perform.

In the text he particularly warns them against drunkenness as a
vice that is directly contrary to that sobriety which the grace of
God, manifested in the Gospel, is designed to teach us.

Be not drunk with wine, that is, with any intoxicating liquor,
^wherein is excess.' In order to prevent their falling into this
sin, and others which were likely to flow from it, as effects, in the
last clause of the verse of which the text is part, the apostle exhorts
to ' be filled with the Spirit.' Instead of unmanning and debasing
yourselves by the excessive gratification of those appetites which
belong to mere animal nature, and particularly by being over-charged
with wine or any other intoxicating liquor, let it be your prayer and
solicitous concern to be filled with the good spirit of God, to be
under the influence of that spirit which the Gospel breathes, and to
abound in those fruits which are produced by the assistance of the
Divine Spirit. For in these there is no danger of excess. The
influence of this Spirit will enable you to restrain and regulate your
animal propensities and to keep them in proper subjection to the
higher power of reason, and to the precepts of God's word.

It is proposed to make a few observations, which may show
what is implied in the text, then briefly to explain the nature and
represent the guilt of the sin of drunkenness, point out some of the
sad and pernicious effects of this great and growing evil, and
improve the whole by such particular addresses as the subject may
fairly direct.



HISTORY OF NATICK. 167

With regard to the first, the text does not require a total absti-
nence from Avine or any other refreshing liquor, it merely guards
against an immoderate use of them, against drinking them to excess ;
that is, using them to such a degree as to obtsruct and prevent the
regular, full, and free exercise of reason and understanding, or
making so free with spirituous liquors as to injure health, impair
strength, and in any measure indispose and unfit us for the stated,
diligent, and conscientious discharge of the duties of life and reli-
gion. The person so using them is guilty of the sin of intemperance,
and justly chargeable with all the consequences it produces.

Though there may be some who are not guilty of such excess as
totally to drown their reason, stupefy their senses, and wholly unfit
themselves for the labors and duties of life, yet if they make it their
daily or frequent practice to drink to such a degree as to disorder
their rational faculties, to stupefy their consciences, and in any man-
ner to disincline or unfit them for religious duties, and for the civil
and laborious employments of life, whether it be perceived by others
or not, they are verily guilty in the sight of God.

We may add that as causes are best known by their effects, so the
nature and aggravated guilt of the sin of drunkenness will appear
in a more glaring point of light by taking a view of some of the sad
and pernicious fruits which it generally produces. In the first place,
it is of pernicious consequences to men's worldly interest. In how
many instances has this observation been realized ! How common
a thing has it been for persons addicted to this vice, who have begun
the world with a considerable interest in possession, or at least with
capacity, and with the means and opportunity of acquiring it, to be
reduced to want and distressing poverty ! Have we not known
some who have been brought to nakedness and hunger, to the most
abject wretchedness, and to the want of a place in which to put their
heads, by means of hard drinking ? or have been brought under
confinement by the hands of civil authority for not satisfying the
righteous demands of their creditors, by spending their earnings for
strong drinks, which should have been applied to the payments of
their just debts ? Or, if they have escaped the hands of justice, it
has been by skulking and hiding themselves ; or they have spent
the time which should have been employed in some profitable labor,
in wandering about from place to place, seekhig to gratify their
insatiable appetite by the Uberality, or rather indiscreet generosity



168 HISTORY OF NATICK.

of others, after they had lost their credit, and put it out of their
power to procure the means of intemperance themselves, by having
run through their patrimony, or the gains they had made before the
bewitching love of liquor had taken such entire possession of them,
through the want of timely resistance ; and by this means they have
brought not only themselves, but, which is very sad and affecting, by
not providing for those of their own household, have reduced their
innocent famiUes, their wives and children, to shame, to want, and
beggary. How much has it cost som.e for strong drink in the course
of a year ? More perhaps than their family expenses for the neces-
saries of life, especially if we take into account its other ill conse-
quences ; for as it is and must be very expensive, so it proves the
occasion of misspending and consuming much precious time. Instead
of being at home and employed in the proper business of their calling
to procure necessaries and conveniences for themselves and their
families, they are abroad at taverns and other places of resort, where
a plenty of liquor is expected, and drinking away their time and
senses together.

Again, those who drink to excess not only waste their worldly
substance, impoverish themselves and families, and misspend precious
time, but they indispose and unfit themselves for the proper business
and duties of their secular calling. How many days have been lost,
and worse than lost by hard drinking over night ! What habits of
sloth and idleness are contracted ! These make the drunkard more
and more averse to labor, and to the proper employments of life.

Besides, how liable is a man in a fit of drunkenness, or when he
is only in a considerable degree raised by the fumes of strong drink,
to be imposed on and defrauded by the crafty and designing, and by
every one who is inclined to take advantage of him ! When he is
thus intoxicated or elevated with drink, his reason is so asleep or
benumbed, impaired or beclouded, that he knows not or does not
consider what he does ; and how often has the poor intoxicated
creature been enticed to make bad and destructive bargains, and to
enter into such engagements as are injurious to his worldly interests,
and sometimes to subscribe instruments to the detriment, if not total
ruin, of himself and family as to this world !

By these means does the drunkard come to poverty and want.
But this is not the only sad consequence of the excessive use of
spirituous liquors. It also deprives them of that reputation or good



HISTORY OF NATICK. 169

name which the wise man tells us is 7'atlier to be cliosen than great
riches. As men in their drunken fits act beneath the dignity of
their nature, as reasonable creatures, and are unfit for the society
and conversation of the wise and sober, they are accordingly shunned
and avoided. In their cups they expose themselves to the ridicule
of some, to the pity of others, and to the just abhorrence of all, by
the overflowings of their foolish and silly, their indecent and filthy,
their profane and wicked, if not beastly and diabolical, communica-
tions. What foolish questions will they ask ! What impertinent
answers will they make ! How incoherent and inconsistent in their
talk ! How unguarded and unbecoming their expressions ! Discre-
tion, honor, and modesty, are frequently laid aside, secrets divulged,
their friends exposed, and all who stand in any relation to them
ashamed and grieved, offended and hurt.

How disagreeable, and even shocking, does the drunkard appear
in the eyes of the wise and sober, the virtuous and good ! To see
a creature in human shape deprived of the use of that reason which
is the distinguishing glory of man, reeling and staggering along the
road, or wandering out of his way, his heart full of vanity and folly,
his mouth of cursing and bitterness, and uttering unseemly and
perverse things, his passions let loose, his senses stupefied, and the
whole man degraded below the beasts which have no understanding,
— this is a spectacle which, however it may excite the laughter and
mirth of some, is indeed one of the most melancholy and mortifying
which a wise and thoughtful person can behold, and is as disgraceful
to the man himself as it is offensive to others, and displeasing to the
God who made him.

Again, drunkenness seldom if ever stands alone. As was hinted
before, it is a leading vice. One of its first effects is impurity and
uncleanness. Unchaste desires, immodest language, and wantonness
of behavior are its usual effects. The passions, which were before
sufficiently ungovernable and headstrong, receive additional motion
and strength. The sensual appetites are kindled into an unholy
flame.

Again, intoxicating liquor, when taken to excess, prepares the way
for contention and every evil work. It frequently leads to outrages
and abusive language, which kindle the fire of contention. Conten-
tion, when begun, increases by the cause which first excited it.
Anger produces anger ; from hard words and provoking speeches



170 HISTORY OF NATICK.

they press on to blows and jBghtings ; the effects of these have in
many instances been bloodshed and murder.

Thus drunkenness by a natural and direct tendency leads to
uncleanness, to acts of impiety and profaneness, to strife and conten-
tion, to bloodshed and slaughter, and every other sin to which man-
kind are prone. For what sin is there which a man may not commit
when he is deprived of his reason ? Our Saviour exhorts to " take
heed to ourselves lest at any time our heart be overcharged with
surfeiting and drunkenness." But a man in drink puts it out of his
power to exercise a proper caution ; he can neither watch nor pray
lest he enter into temptation, he is unfit to guard against it. The
caution cannot and will not be of any advantage to him for that
time, through his neglect to give heed to it in season, before the
temptation had its effect.

Again, the sin of drunkenness wounds the conscience, hardens
the heart, and deprives a man of that peace and tranquillity of mind
which a wise and sober person would not part with for the world.
What bitter reflections must sometime be the effects of drinking to
excess ! When the fumes of strong drink are dissipated, when the
storm of passion is abated, when a man comes to himself, when his
reason reassumes its office in the soul, when his conscience writes
bitter things against him, then it severely reproves him, then * it
bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.' Or if the drunkard
is so far advanced in this unmanly, disgraceful and pernicious evil,
and so habituated to it as to be without these bitter reflections, when
the intoxicating draught has spent its force, and what remains of
reason returns to its feeble empire in the soul, his case is still worse
and more desperate, and he is more the object of our pity. It is a
sad symptom indeed, and a token that his conscience is seared and
past the sense of feeling, when it ceases to warn him of his danger,
and lets him alone till it awakens and rouses him up in that place of
torment, where the worm of conscience will never die, and the fire of
divine wrath will never be quenched.

Again, by the excessive use of strong drinks men unfit themselves
for useful members of society. As they cannot serve God accept-
ably so neither are they capable of serving their generation, as it is
the will of God every man should according to his opportunities and
abilities. How many persons of good natural abiUties and acquired
endowments render themselves utterly incapable of being serviceable



HISTORY OF NATICK. lU

to the community of which they are members, of sustaining various
offices and filling important departments in civil life, only by giving
indulgence to a more than brutish appetite for strong drink ! For
if they cannot govern themselves, if they cannot command and
restrain their appetites, and regulate and manage their own affairs,
surely they are unfit to direct, and incapable of leading and con-
ducting the affairs of others ; so that the sot at best is but a useless,
insi'mificant cipher in human society, a mere blank, and of all men
the most unqualified and unfit to serve his generation.

Again, drunkenness unfits men for Christian fellowship and com-
munion. It incapacitates them for the enjoyment of the special
privileges and ordinances of the Gospel.

They cannot, as the apostle tells the Corinthians, drink the cup of
the Lord, and the cup of devils ; that is, they cannot be worthy com-
municants at the Lord's talk, while at the same time they partake
of that intoxicating cup which renders them fit only for the society
of the devil, and to do his service and drudgery : for what fellow-
ship hath Christ, or the members of his body, with drunkards ? IIow
dare such persons to drink of the consecrated wine, and be filled
with that, or any other liquor wherein is excess?

"We next observe, that drunkenness is injurious and destructive to
the health and life of man. Spirituous liquors, especially when used
to excess, are allowed by some of the most skilful physicians, and by
the best writers, to be of pernicious consequences to our bodily con-
stitutions ; and they frequently lay a foundation for mental distem-
pers, and untimely death. ' Who hath woe ? ' says the wise man.
' Who hath sorrow ? Who hath contentions ? Who hath wounds
without cause ? Who hath redness of eyes ? ' The answer to these
short queries is, ' They who tarry long at the wine, they who go to
seek mixed wine. ' ' Woe unto them that rise up early in the morn
ing, that they may follow strong drink, that continue until night until
wine inflame them. Woe unto them that are mighty to drink
wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink.'

Those who make drinking to excess their daily or frequent practice,
at once wasting their precious time, and abusing God's creatures, at
the same time impair the health of their bodies, as well as endanger
the salvation of their immortal souls. And though there may be
some who do not drink such quantities as to bring on any great de-
gree of intoxication, yet they may heat and inflame themselves to



/

172 HISTORY OF NATICK.

such a degree, as to bring on surfeits, disorders, and death. To how
many hurtful and fatal accidents is the drunkard exposed in his cups !
Sometimes by falling from his beast, that is more rational and sober
than himself, as he is returning from taverns or other drinking
places ; at other times stumbling over any obstacle that lies in his
■way, and thereby breaking his limbs, or bruising his flesh when he
escapes with his Hfe.

In the last place drunkenness shuts men out of the Kingdom of
Heaven. As it unfits them for the society of their fellow creatures
and fellow Christians here, so much more does it disqualify them for
the gracious and immediate presence and intercourse of their Maker
and Saviour, for the company of holy angels, and the society of ' just
men made perfect,' in that holy city, into which nothing entereth
which ' defileth or worketh abomination.' Drunkards, among other
high-handed offenders, are cautioned against deceiving themselves,
and are expressly told, in the word of God, that ' they shall not in-
herit the kingdom of God ; that the wrath of God cometh on the
children of disobedience,' and upon drunkards among the rest, who
in the text and other passages of scripture, are plainly warned against
excessive drinking, and they who indulge themselves in this and other
works of the flesh. As they cannot please God, so are they the objects
of his just abhorrence ; and if they remain impenitent and unre-
formed, he will consign them to the regions of darkness, despair and
endless torment, where they will repent indeed, but not with repen-
tance unto life, because it will be fruitless, unavailing and ever-
lasting.

1. To young iKO'ple. Dear young friends, you have had set
before you the defiling and contagious nature, and the sad and de-
plorable effects of the sin of drunkenness. Let me entreat you to
remember, that the way of vice is down hill ; if you once give your-
self up to a free use of spirituous liquors, you will soon make large
strides in the road to drunkenness, and it is to be feared, in a little
time will become confirmed sots.

If, therefore, you love yourselves ; if you have any concern for
the health of your bodies and the peace of your minds ; if you are
desirous of acquiring and ^jreserving a good name, and of living in
repute with the Avise and good ; if it is your aim and ambition to be
prosperous and successful in your worldly business, and to promote
your secular interest, as you very lawfully may within certain bounds :



HISTORY OF NATICK. 173

if you would prevent the grief and displeasure of your parents and
superiors ; above all, if you would prevent the displeasure and be
happy in the favor of your Maker, and secure the salvation of your
souls, let me beseech and entreat you to keep at a distance from the
intoxicating cup ; to avoid all commerce and society with those who
show a love for strong drinks, and are sottishly ilichned. And let
me affectionately charge you to shun those places, whether taverns
or private houses, where strong liquor is plentifully used. Exercise
a proper caution in time, before this bewitching practice is formed
into a settled habit, that you may be aware of your danger, and to
put you upon earnest prayer to the Author of your being, for the as-
sistance and restraints of his grace, without which the strongest res*
olutions and efforts of your own may lead you as feathers before the
wind of temptation.

2. I now turn to parents and heads of families. I cannot but
conclude that all heads of families, whether as parents, or masters
and mistresses, are desirous that their children and servants should
abstain from that pernicious vice on which we have been discoursing.
It is so contrary to the common sense and reason of every one ; it
is so solemnly exposed in the word of God, it has such a beautifu
tendency, and is followed with such direful effects, that a man must
be void of all natural affection, and of all sense of duty, not to be
filled with concern, even to anxiety, for the children of his own bowels,
and for others who are placed under his care, lest they should be
initiated and established in those habits of drinking spirituous liquors
to excess, which are followed with such a train of evils. You must
be sensible it is your duty to improve all proper occasion to remon-
strate against so heinous a sin, and to put them upon their guard
against all temptation to it, and to prevent, as much as in you lies,
their going to such places as expose them to the allurements of those
sons of licentiousness, who are known to be inclined to excess, and
use their influence to intoxicate others. But with what countenance
can you exert that authority with which your Maker and Master in
heaven has clothed you — with what assurance can you exhort and
charge your children and servants, — or with what propriety or con
sistence can you set before them the guilt and danger of frequenting
taverns and other drinking houses, and taking down large quantities
of spirituous and intoxicating liquors, if at the same time your own
practice and example speak quite another language ; and which, if it



174



HISTORY OF NATICK.



had its full influence, would be more powerful and effectual than all
your admonitions and remonstrances to the contrary ? Should any
of you, after you have been abroad, either at a public house, or at
the house of a neighbor and acquaintance, return home overcome
with strong drink, unable to give your words their full sound, and
yet perhaps full ^f talk, exposing yourselves, by your impertinence


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Online LibraryOliver N BaconA history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 15 of 22)