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society, its education, morality, and religion, he is breathing an atmosphere, most healthful and happy for him; and he will carry back a report to his country home, full of encouragement to all good men there, and of rebuke to all bad men. Oh! what messages are these, to go from among us, to the whole wide land! May they be multiplied !
I thank God that there are such messages. But suppose that the visiter to our city finds much here, that is widely and unhappily different from that representation. Suppose that he is impressed with the covetousness, extravagance, and immorality of the people, rather than with the opposite qualities. Suppose that he finds here, not only thousands of houses of evil allurement-I speak not in random terms; three thousand drinking houses are but one item in the account—that he finds, I say, not only some thousands of houses of evil allurement, but that he falls in with some of those currents of evil conversation and practice which are ever flowing towards those reservoirs of iniquity. He is introduced, you perceive, both by the spectacle and the spirit of things around him, to new modes and new ideas of life. Instead of that regular and reasonable application to business, and that quiet, domestic fidelity and enjoyment, which mark out, as he had before thought, the only lawful plan in life, he finds those in the city throng-made up as it is of many moral classes—he finds those, and not a few, perhaps, who are pushing business to unscrupulous excess one part of the day, that they may urge pleasure to criminal excess another. He hears it insinuated too, on a basis indeed of truth, but with a large superstructure of exaggeration, that many around him, holding a respectable rank in society, are accus. tomed to resort to houses of midnight dissoluteness, gambling and intemperance! He is shocked-he is almost shaken, perhaps, in some of his moral judg. ments. He departs from the scene, wondering, but not corrupted. He carries his wonder with him to his country retirement, and naturally gives it utterance. Many reports of this kind, carried by individuals, sanctioned by newspapers, and confirmed by the testimonies given in our courts of justice, spread at length an impression through the country, that the city is almost wholly given up to the idolatry of sense; and this impression powerfully tends to sap the very foundations of public morality. Bad and dissolute men are encouraged by it. They say to the advocates of strict virtue, “You see that we are not alone! These notions," say they, “of strictness and self-restraint are all the fruit of country simplicity and ignorance.” But great as the injury is in this view, it is not so great as the injury to and through the individual whose case I am considering. He comes again to the great city-mart; he falls again into society like that which he had seen before he hears again that loose and reckless conversation, whose breath, more fatally than any other influence, dissolves the bands of virtue ; he hears, and the more he hears, the less he is shocked; use breeds familjarity, familiarity, indifference; indifference leaves the soul unguarded—leaves it to be carried away by any casual whim, temporary excitement, or deep-seated passion--yes, carried away to the dens of evil indulgence: and now it may be, that he who, five years ago, came to the city with none but honest intents, and looked upon many things around him with no feelings
but of surprise and displeasure-now, I say, he comes, perhaps, full as much for unlawful pleasure as for lawful business : yes, he has fallen into those very habits which, five years ago, filled him with amazement and horror. Nor is this all; nor even the worst. He carries the infection of example with him. Corrupted in the city, he becomes a centre and source of corruption in the country. He opens a fountain in the midst of some pure community, whose poisonous waters flow -underground, through many a hidden channel-yet not so deep, but that they pollute the very soil of society where he lives, blasting many a verdant spot, and fair flower, and shapely young tree, that shall spring up there for a century to come.
Thus does a city, if corrupt, inevitably become a source of corruption to the country. But there is another process by which it does this work, which it is still more affecting to contemplate. There are not only streams flowing out of the city; but others which flow into it. Yes, many a pure stream from the country, many a fresh mountain stream, finds its way to the city, only to fall into some of its many reservoirs of pollution,
Of how many a young man's career is this figure but too exact a description! How many youth are ihere-alas! and must we say of both sexes?—who came from their native hills, pure as the streams that gush forth at their side, and have found in our city, allurement, enticement, pollution, poverty, disease, and premature death. Look at that young man, if indeed vice and misery have left him yet young; look at him as he stands in the early morning, perhaps, at the entrance of some porter-house or grog-shop, pale, irresolute, destitute, friendless, not knowing where to go, or what to do; fix your eye, ay, and a compassionate eye, upon him for one moment, and I will tell you his history. A few years only have passed over him, since he was the cherished member of a happy country-home. It was at that period that his own inclination, or family straits, led him to seek his fortunes abroad in the world. What a moment is that, when the first great tie of nature is broken—the tie to home! The long pent-up and quiet tenderness of family affection swells in the eye of the mother, and trembles at her heart, as she busies herself with the little preparations necessary for the departure of her son-her charge, till now, from infancy. At length the day comes for him to bid adieu to the scenes of his early life. Amidst the blessings and prayers of kindred, with many precious words spoken to him, he turns away, himself moved to tears perhaps, as he catches the last glance of the holy roof of his childhood. He comes to the great city; and for a time, probably, all is well with him. Home is dear at his heart, and the words of parental caution and of sisterly love are still in his ears; and the new scenes seem strange, and almost sad to him. But, left alone in the city throng, he must seek companions. And here, alas! is his first great peril. Could he have been acquainted with but two or three virtuous and agreeable families, with whom to pass his leisure hours, all might still have been well. But left to chance for his associates, chance is but too likely to provide him with associates that will tempt him to go astray. Their apparently honest wonder at his country simplicity, their ridicule of his fears, their jeers at his doubts and scruples, ere long wear off the first freshness of virtue
He consents, for experiment's sake, it may be, to take one step with his evil advisers. That step sets the seal of doom upon his whole after career. Now, and from hence forth, every step is downward-downward—downward · -till, on earth, there is no lower point to reach. And what though for a while he maintain some outward decency? What though he dress well and live luxuriously, and amass wealth to pamper his vices. It is but a cloth of gold spread over the fatal gangrene, that is eating into his vitals, and his very heart! But, often, instead of that cloth of gold, are the rags of beggary, or the garb of the convict. Vice is expensive and wasteful. It wants means at the same time that it is losing credit. It must, without a rare fortune, descend to beggary or crime. How often does it find both mingled in its bitter cup! How many are there in this city who have descended from the high places of honour and hope, to a degradation of which once they never dreamed as possible! Alas! how sad is the contrast between what that man is, and what he once was! But a little time ago, and he knew gentle nurture, and the music of kind words, and the holy serenity of nature, and quiet rural labour; the peace and plenty of a country-home were around him; and a mother's gentle tone, and a sister's kind voice, were in his ears; and words of sweet and solemn prayer rose each morning and evening, perhaps, beneath the venerable roof where he dwelt; and now-in the prison or the poor-house, or in some dwelling more desolate, pent up with stifling filth and squalid wretchedness, amidst oaths, and blows, and blasphemies, he is pursuing his dark and desperate way to a grave, that already yawns to receive him! And when he is bu