Chapter 5—The Sense of Moral Obligation

Guided by Moral and Religious Principle—We are to act from a moral and religious standpoint. We are to be temperate in all things, because an incorruptible crown, a heavenly treasure, is before us.—Testimonies for the Church 2:374. Te 213.1

As Christ's followers, we should, in eating and drinking, act from principle.—Redemption; or the Temptation of Christ, 60. Te 213.2

The case of Daniel shows us, that, through religious principle, young men may triumph over the lust of the flesh and remain true to God's requirements, even though it cost them a great sacrifice.—Testimonies for the Church 4:570. Te 213.3

No Moral Right to Do as You Please—Have I not a right to do as I please with my own body?—No, you have no moral right, because you are violating the laws of life and health which God has given you. You are the Lord's property, His by creation and His by redemption. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The law of self-respect and for the property of the Lord is here brought to view. And this will lead to respect for the obligations which every human being is under to preserve the living machinery that is so fearfully and wonderfully made.—Manuscript 49, 1897. Te 213.4

To Sense the Sacredness of Natural Law—Every law governing the human system is to be strictly regarded; for it is as truly a law of God as is the word of Holy Writ; and every willful deviation from obedience to this law is as certainly sin as a violation of the moral law. All nature expresses the law of God, but in our physical structure Jehovah has written His law with His own finger upon every thrilling nerve, upon every living fiber, and upon every organ of the body. We shall suffer loss and defeat, if we step out of nature's path, which God Himself has marked out, into one of our own devising. Te 213.5

We must strive lawfully, if we would win the boon of eternal life. The path is wide enough, and all who run the race may win the prize. If we create unnatural appetites, and indulge them in any degree, we violate nature's laws, and enfeebled physical, mental, and moral conditions will result. We are hence unfitted for that persevering, energetic, and hopeful effort which we might have made had we been true to nature's laws. If we injure a single organ of the body, we rob God of the service we might render to Him. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”—The Review and Herald, October 18, 1881. Te 214.1

A Constant Sense of Responsibility—Those who have a constant realization that they stand in this relation to God will not place in the stomach food which pleases the appetite, but which injures the digestive organs. They will not spoil the property of God by indulging improper habits of eating, drinking, or dressing. They will take great care of the human machinery, realizing that they must do this in order to work in copartnership with God. He wills that they be healthy, happy, and useful. But in order for them to be this, they must place their wills on the side of His will.—Letter 166, 1903. Te 214.2

Guarded by the Bulwark of Moral Independence—Parents may, by earnest, persevering effort, unbiased by the customs of fashionable life, build a moral bulwark about their children that will defend them from the miseries and crimes caused by intemperance. Children should not be left to come up as they will, unduly developing traits that should be nipped in the bud; but they should be disciplined carefully, and educated to take their position upon the side of right, of reform and abstinence. In every crisis they will then have moral independence to breast the storm of opposition sure to assail those who take their stand in favor of true reform.—Pacific Health Journal, May 1890. Te 214.3

Bring your children to God in faith, and seek to impress their susceptible minds with a sense of their obligations to their heavenly Father. It will require lesson upon lesson, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.—The Review and Herald, November 6, 1883. Te 215.1

Teach It as a Privilege and Blessing—Let pupils be impressed with the thought that the body is a temple in which God desires to dwell; that it must be kept pure, the abiding place of high and noble thoughts. As in the study of physiology they see that they are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made,” they will be inspired with reverence. Instead of marring God's handiwork, they will have an ambition to make all that is possible of themselves, in order to fulfill the Creator's glorious plan. Thus they will come to regard obedience to the laws of health, not as a matter of sacrifice or self-denial, but as it really is, an inestimable privilege and blessing.—Education, 201. Te 215.2

A Great Victory if Seen From the Moral Standpoint—If we can arouse the moral sensibilities of our people on the subject of temperance, a great victory will be gained. Temperance in all things of this life is to be taught and practiced.—The Signs of the Times, October 2, 1907. Te 215.3

Each to Answer to God Personally—Obedience to the laws of life must be made a matter of personal duty. We must answer to God for our habits and practices. The question for us to answer is not, What will the world say? but, How shall I, claiming to be a Christian, treat the habitation God has given me? Shall I work for my highest temporal and spiritual good by keeping my body as a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, or shall I sacrifice myself to the world's ideas and practices?—Manuscript 86, 1897. Te 215.4

More Than Conquerors—If Christians will keep the body in subjection and bring all their appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience, feeling it a duty that they owe to God and to their neighbor to obey the laws which govern health and life, they will have the blessing of physical and mental vigor. They will have moral power to engage in the warfare against Satan; and in the name of Him who conquered appetite in their behalf, they may be more than conquerors on their own account.—The Review and Herald, November 21, 1882. Te 216.1