Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 191, 1898

Evils of Tobacco and Strong Drink

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

October 21, 1898

Previously unpublished.

I have been wakened between two and three o’clock. Instruction has been given me during the night season, which I will present. We need to employ our God-given powers that we shall not appear as a band of mourners in a funeral train. We should encourage gladness and praise and joy in our God, not only in our families, but in the church. We bring together too little sunshine into our service for God. If the fathers of families would dispense with their tobacco, which is doing them only harm, they would lay aside the sum thus invested as a thank offering to God. By binding about the habits which ruin soul and body, they could, with the money they devote to a species of idolatry, save their families—the mother and children—much suffering, and provide needed comforts for the home. Those who expend money in small sums or large sums for coffee transported from Java, and for the tea herb transported from China, would save much to make home more pleasant for themselves and their children. The Lord is greatly dishonored by the outlay of His money for such purposes. These indulgences only abuse the habitation God has given them, that is so fearfully and wonderfully made. 13LtMs, Ms 191, 1898, par. 1

The love of fermented wine and strong drink is not the habit and appetite nature has given men, but it is an appetite created and formed, which has no foundation in nature. The indulgence in smoking and chewing the narcotic, tobacco, becomes habit, and the appetite for these things is most difficult to overcome. But those who will come under rule to Christ, who will give their heart, soul, and strength to the Lord Jesus; who for the love of God, and for the sake of wife and children, will sign the pledge of total abstinence, and will pray in faith for the Lord to help them, will cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit. They will need that faith that depends on a higher will power than their own. 13LtMs, Ms 191, 1898, par. 2

We wish, if possible, to call the attention of professed Christians and ministers who present the gospel to a perishing world to break off the filthy, disgusting habit of smoking and chewing tobacco. Will you have the moral courage to do this? Will you form societies, not “smoking societies,” not smoking concerts, to educate others in this health and life-destroying, poisonous narcotic, but will you who have reasoning powers unite with us to give your influence against this sinful, wicked indulgence? Is it not time you should consider, as human beings dependent upon God for your daily sustenance, not to make idols? 13LtMs, Ms 191, 1898, par. 3

You start back and say, “You put it too strong.” It is not a whit too strong. I call upon every tobacco-devotee to discern in its use an idol. The money expended for the pernicious narcotic binds you with Satan’s cords of slavery. Yes, every one who uses this poisonous weed will have to give an account to God for his voluntarily using a substance which is educating his appetite and entire will and being into making him a slave to a practice that will weaken physical health, war against spiritual health, and becloud and cobweb the brain. Never will you be aware of the bonds of slavery you have subjected yourselves to, except through your determined effort to break the galling chains of habit in determined resistance to the narcotic. Every sound-thinking man, every man who thinks he stands under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel, should consider, and be afraid of his influence upon his fellow men. He should be afraid of his influence upon his own family. He should, for the sake of his wife and his children, wake up and act decidedly. 13LtMs, Ms 191, 1898, par. 4

The extensive use of this health-and-life-destroying weed should make every Christian afraid of this fashionable altar erected when he lays himself voluntarily upon it, a manacled victim of sacrifice. The wonderful human machinery requires not this narcotic. The fashionable sins in this respect make it the more offensive in the sight of a pure and holy God. Fashion cannot make the sin less or sanction it and make you guiltless as an accountable being in the sight of a holy God. “Ye are not your own.” “Ye are bought we a price:”—and what a price!—“therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Body and spirit alike are affected. Will human beings defile the temple of the body which God has demanded of you shall be kept pure and holy? “What, 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.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” Romans 14:7. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:11. 13LtMs, Ms 191, 1898, par. 5