Online education makes money

Online education makes money

Vegetarianism has made many people rich, but much more money has been made by men who have given up the practice of drinking beer, or wine, or spirits, and have profitably invested the money which would have otherwise been spent at the public-house. In every town and city and village in the land, there are men who, by their temperance, have thus raised themselves into a condition of comparative wealth and independence. I have met with hundreds of such men. Let me give, as an illustration, the career of Mr. James M‘Currey, who claims to be the teetotal father of the Rev. Dr. Robert Maguire. M‘Currey was born in Glasgow, as far back as 1801, and he is now, in the year 1878, a fine hearty-looking old man, with apparently many years of usefulness before him. His parents were working people, and when M‘Currey first went to work as a lad, his chief employment was to fetch in the drink for the men, and for his reward to have a sup for himself. No wonder the lad at times drank, and, as he says, worked hard in the workshop, and worked with equal energy at the devil’s workshop, the public-house. Fortunately, he married a good wife, who was no friend to the whiskey; and owing to her influence he left off going to the public-house; but even then, when he came to London and got good work, he took occasionally to drinking. He writes—

“I dearly loved my wife and child, but drink came between me, and them. Ever, on my senses returning, my remorse was horrible, more than I could bear. I longed to get away from my work—from London, anywhere. Hard times came; years of trial to my wife, of reproach to me, in which I was miserable when drunk, and more miserable when sober.” Happily, in 1828-9, he became a Christian p. 94man, and a very earnest one; but even then he had not taken the pledge, and had much trouble in consequence. Unfortunately, he was at work in Theobald’s Road, and when the men were paid they used to go to the public-house to get change, and M‘Currey went with the rest. One day, just as he was going through the passage of the inn, the head foreman, who was in the parlour, saw him passing, and said—

“‘Come in here, M‘Currey;’ and in the next moment he had handed me a glass of brandy-and-water, which was lying before him on the table. He then said—

“‘Sit down and have a pipe.’

“Being called upon to do this by a man in his position, I did so, for I thought to myself I cannot very well say ‘No.’ The tempter came in an insidious form, and I fell before his wiles. That night I was taken home drunk to my wife. She was fit to go beside herself with grief. There was I lying drunk in the house, where, for a long time past, we had been so comfortable. I, who had been one of the visitors of the Strangers’ Friend; I, who had gone to Guy’s Hospital to talk to people about their soul’s eternal salvation; there was I, lying drunk. It was a dreadful fall for me. I went to my class-leader about it. He said—

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“‘Well, Brother M‘Currey, what is the matter?’

“I told him; but there he was, the man to whom I had gone for advice, sitting with a bottle of gin on the table, and a jug of spring water. He filled up some and handed it to me. He said—

“‘You see, Mr. M‘Currey, you take too much; take a little now and it will steady your nerves;’ for I was trembling like a leaf.

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“‘It is the accursed little, sir, that is the stumblingblock to me.’

“‘Never mind; you take a little of this, and don’t be tempted to take too much.’”

We need not say that Mr. M‘Currey took some of what was offered him; but he was glad to leave his class-leader’s presence, and church, and neighbourhood, and he went to work at Chelsea. There he met with a teetotaller, who persuaded him to go to a temperance meeting. He did, and became a teetotaller. The struggle at first was long and severe. Times were bad, and he had to borrow tools to go to work with. He had also at that time (1837) much opposition p. 95to encounter from his fellow-workmen, who often injured his clothes and his tools, and were ready to do him all the harm they could. At length he borrowed a sovereign, and commenced selling coke in the streets till better days came round, and in a little while he commenced his career as a master-builder. It is thus he writes in his interesting autobiography:—

“There is a very noble verse of my countryman, Robert Burns, which I have ever heard with admiration:—

“‘To catch Dame Fortune’s golden smile,

Assiduous wait upon her,

And gather gear by every wile

That’s justified by honour.

Not for to hide it in a hedge,

Not for a train attendant,