Young Men Ahoy

—Temperance Day


John B. Gough's Thrilling Word Picture a Remarkable Temperance Lesson.

THE LESSON—That we dare not trifle with the devil's poison.

The world has known no greater foe to intemperance than John B. Gough. No words of this great leader have left a more lasting impression than those which he used in his striking picture of t

e young men drifting in a boat on the Niagara river. Happily, it adapts itself to the requirements of a chalk talk.

The Talk.

"The great temperance leader, John B. Gough, devoted the best years of his life to an earnest endeavor to save hoys from the evil of strong drink, of which he knew so much through long, bitter experience. Familiar to all of us, perhaps, is the thrilling word picture of the young men who launched their rowboat upon the quiet, smooth waters of the broad Niagara river a few miles above the mighty cataract. [Draw the boat and the young men, completing Fig. 96. It might be well to prepare this first scene in advance.]

Figure 96: Two boys in a rowing boat.

"'Now,' says Mr. Gough, as he enters into the narrative, 'launch your bark upon the Niagara river. It is bright and smooth and still; there is a ripple at the bow; the silvery wake you leave behind you adds to your enjoyment. Down the stream you glide; you have your oars, and you think you are prepared for every emergency—and thus you go on your pleasure excursion, thinking naught of dangers ahead. Some one cries from the bank! Hark!

"'Young men, ahoy!'

"'What is it?' you ask.

"'The rapids are below you!'

"'Ha, ha! We have heard of the rapids below us,' you laugh, 'but we are not such fools as to get into them. When we find we are going too fast, we will pull for the shore.'

"'Young men, ahoy!'

"'What is it?

"'The rapids are below you!'

"'Ha, ha! We will laugh and quaff; all things delight us; what care we for the future? No man ever saw it. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." We will enjoy life while we may, and catch pleasure as it flies. This is the time for enjoyment. It is time enough to steer out of danger when we find we are going too swiftly with the stream.'


"'What is it?'

"'The rapids are below you! Now see the water foaming all around you! See how fast you go! Quick! QUICK! Pull for your very lives! Pull till the blood starts from your nostrils and the veins stand like whipcords on your brow!'

[At this point, quickly detach the drawing from the board, turn it one-fourth around and re-attach with thumb tacks; then, add the lines to complete Fig. 97.]

Figure 97: The rowing boat falling over a waterfall.

"'Ah, it is too late! Shrieking, cursing, blaspheming, over the falls you go!—and thousands thus go over every year by the power of evil habits, declaring, "When I find it is hurting me, I will quit." But these latter do not go by the water way, but by the whiskey way, which is a thousand times worse! No man today fills a drunkard's grave who did not once think he could quit—but he found, too late, that he couldn't.'

"'Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise,' says Solomon, and he might have made it ten times as strong and still kept within the truth. Everywhere, and at all times, when a young man starts to do evil, he hears plainly and clearly the cry, 'Young man, ahoy! The rapids are below you!' It is the voice of conscience, his true and faithful servant. But, unfortunately, as the voice is unheeded and bad habits grow stronger, conscience grows weaker, and, after a while, it cannot serve us at all, for Satan has taken possession of it. The evil one can do as much mischief with a man's conscience as he can with his heart. He can 'sear it with a hot iron.' (I Tim. 4: 2.) He can 'defile' it. (Titus 1: 15.) He can kill it. (Eph. 4: 17-19.) And how can a seared, defiled, dead conscience help him to shun temptation and sin? Many a man, honest in his dealings with those about him, is dishonest with himself when he begins to allow bad habits to rule his life and to allow Satan to defile and kill the conscience which has been provided to guide him in caring for his own body—the earthly temple given to him by God as the earthly abiding place of his immortal soul."