Chapter 6—Total Abstinence Our Position

The Only Safe Course—The only safe course is to touch not, taste not, handle not, tea, coffee, wines, tobacco, opium, and alcoholic drinks. The necessity for the men of this generation to call to their aid the power of the will, strengthened by the grace of God, in order to withstand the temptations of Satan and resist the least indulgence of perverted appetite is twice as great as it was several generations ago. But the present generation have less power of self-control than had those who lived then.—Testimonies for the Church 3:488. Te 163.3

Let us never partake of a glass of alcoholic liquor. Let us never touch it.—Manuscript 38a, 1905. Te 163.4

The Will to Touch Not, Taste Not, and Handle Not—If all would be vigilant and faithful in guarding the little openings made by the moderate use of the so-called harmless wine and cider, the highway to drunkenness would be closed up. What is needed in every community is firm purpose, and a will to touch not, taste not, handle not; then the temperance reformation would be strong, permanent, and thorough.—The Review and Herald, March 25, 1884. Te 163.5

Abstain strictly from all stimulating food or drink. You are God's property. You are not to abuse any organ of the body. You are to care wisely for your body, that there may be a perfect development of the whole man. Is it not an act of ingratitude on your part to do anything so to weaken your vital forces that you are unable properly to represent Him or to do the work He has for you to do?—Letter 236, 1903. Te 164.1

Temperance Principles Stem From God's Law—If men strictly and conscientiously kept the law of God, there would be no drunkards, no tobacco inebriates, no distress, penury, and crime. Liquor saloons would be closed for want of patronage, and nine tenths of all misery existing in the world would come to an end. Young men would walk forth with erect and noble forms, free and elastic step, clear eye, and healthy complexions. Te 164.2

When ministers, from their pulpits, make loyalty to the law of God disreputable; when they join with the world in making it unpopular; when these teachers of the people indulge in the social glass, and the defiling narcotic, tobacco, what depth of vice may not be expected from the youth of this generation? You have heard much in regard to the authority and sanctity of the law of the Ten Commandments. God is the author of that law, which is the foundation of His government in heaven and on earth. All enlightened nations have based their laws upon this grand foundation of all law; yet the legislators and ministers, who are recognized as the leaders and teachers of the people, live in open violation of the principles inculcated in those holy statutes. Te 164.3

Many ministers preach Christ from the pulpit, and then do not hesitate to benumb their senses by wine tippling, or even indulging in brandy and other liquors. The Christian standard says, “Touch not; taste not; handle not;” and the laws of our physical being repeat the solemn injunction with emphasis. It is the duty of every Christian minister to lay this truth plainly before his people, teaching it both by precept and example.... Te 164.4

The Christian church is pronounced to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world. Can we apply this to the churches of today, many of whose members are using, not only the defiling narcotic, tobacco, but intoxicating wine, and spirituous liquor, and are placing the wine cup to their neighbor's lips? The church of Christ should be a school in which the inexperienced youth should be educated to control their appetites, from a moral and religious standpoint. They should there be taught how unsafe it is to tamper with temptation, to dally with sin; that there is no such thing as being a moderate and temperate drinker; that the path of the tippler is ever downward. They should be exhorted to “look not thou upon the wine when it is red,” which “at the last biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”—The Signs of the Times, August 29, 1878. Te 165.1

Total Abstinence Our Platform—When temperance is presented as a part of the gospel, many will see their need of reform. They will see the evil of intoxicating liquors and that total abstinence is the only platform on which God's people can conscientiously stand.—Testimonies for the Church 7:75. Te 165.2