In preparing this, his latest volume, the author found himself embarrassed from the beginning, because of the large amount of material which came into his hands, and the consequent difficulty of selection and condensation. There is not a chapter which might not have been extended to twice its present length, nor a fact stated, or argument used, which might not have been supplemented by many equally pertinent and conclusive. The extent to which alcohol curses the whole people cannot be shown in a few pages: the sad and terrible history would fill hundreds of volumes. And the same may be said of the curse which this poisonous substance lays upon the souls and bodies of men. Fearful as is the record which will be found in the chapters devoted to the curse of drink, let the reader bear in mind that a thousandth part has not been told.
In treating of the means of reformation, prevention and cure, our effort has been to give to each agency the largest possible credit for what it is doing. There is no movement, organization or work, however broad or limited in its sphere, which has for its object the cure of drunkenness in the individual, or the suppression of the liquor traffic in the State, that is not contributing its measure of service to the great cause every true temperance advocate has at heart; and what we largely need is, toleration for those who do not see with us, nor act with us in our special methods. Let us never forget the Divine admonition--"Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us."
Patience, toleration and self-repression are of vital importance in any good cause. If we cannot see with another, let us be careful that, by opposition, we do not cripple him in his work. If we can assist him by friendly counsel to clearer seeing, or, by a careful study of his methods, gain a large efficiency for our own, far more good will be done than by hard antagonism, which rarely helps, and too surely blinds and hinders.
Our book treats of the curse and cure of drunkenness. How much better not to come under the terrible curse! How much better to run no risks where the malady is so disastrous, and the cure so difficult!
To young men who are drifting easily into the dangerous drinking habits of society, we earnestly commend the chapters in which will be found the medical testimony against alcohol, and also the one on "The Growth and Power of Appetite." They will see that it is impossible for a man to use alcoholic drinks regularly without laying the foundation for both physical and mental diseases, and, at the same time, lessening his power to make the best of himself in his life-work; while beyond this lies the awful risk of acquiring an appetite which may enslave, degrade and ruin him, body and soul, as it is degrading and ruining its tens of thousands yearly.
It is sincerely hoped that many may be led by the facts here presented, to grapple with the monster and to thus promote his final overthrow.