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"Temperance Work Essentials" (1912)

Ron Forsyth recently provided me with the text of an essay published in an Australian newspaper,  the Western Mail, 7 Sept 1912.  It was written by Jessie Forsyth (1847-1937), a temperance reformer particularly identified with the Good Templar fraternal society.  Born in London to a family of Scottish descent, she relocated to New England as a young woman for reasons of health.  In old age, she moved to Western Australia where her only relations lived.  It was there that she wrote this essay.  Living another quarter century, she was active in the Australian temperance movement for several years.


The following extracts are taken from a paper read by [Jessie] Forsyth, the superintendent of the Sailors' Rest at Fremantle, the subject of the paper being the essentials for successful temperance work. [Miss] Forsyth has herself spent many years in temperance and general social reform work in the Commonwealth and distant parts of the world.

"A few years ago I was asked to state briefly what I considered the essentials for successful temperance work, and I made my reply in three words, 'Consecration, education, agitation.'

"It is well that we should pray, with faith, with earnestness, with fervour. But our prayers should be for strength to  acquit ourselves nobly in the battle; for knowledge that we may learn where to strike effectively, and for patience that we may never lose heart or become discouraged. And when we have prayed for these gifts, let us go forth resolved to bear a worthy part in the conflict. Let us rejoice in remembering that we are workers together with God and do our work faithfully as becomes true followers and servants. The spiritual uplift and refreshment which comes to us when we unite together in prayer is sometimes so satisfying that we forget the purpose which has called us together. We lose sight of the sin, the suffering, and wrong which exist and against which we are called to fight. While we enjoy the blessings poured out on us let us not fail to do our part in extending these blessings to all mankind. The only real blessing that we have a right to expect is the incentive and the strength for more zealous labour. My plea, therefore, is not for less prayer, but for more practical work as a result of prayer. Let us seek to be consecrated for service, real, true, untiring service. Let us be devoted, indeed, with a flaming fire of devotion to the cause. Then shall our devotional exercises not be barren of results."

Posted by David Fahey on November 7, 2010 at 10:51 AM in Temperance | Permalink