The Signs of the Times



January 6, 1876

Christian Temperance


We are living in an age of intemperance. Health and life are sacrificed, by very many, to gratify their appetite for hurtful indulgences. These last days are characterized by depreciated morals and physical debility, in consequence of these indulgences and the general unwillingness to engage in physical labor. Many are suffering today from inaction and wrong habits. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 1

The majority of the youth of this generation are fond of amusements and afraid of work. They generally lack moral courage to deny appetite and respond to the claims of duty. They have but little self-control, and become excited and passionate on the slightest occasion. Idleness and plenty of money to spend in amusements, exciting pleasures, wines, liquors and tobacco, lay the foundation for disease and ruin. Manhood and virtue are sacrificed upon the altar of lust. Very many of every age and station in life are without principle or conscience, and with spend-thrift habits are rushing into all vices, and are corrupting society, until our world is becoming a second Sodom. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 2

Gluttonous feasting and the indulgence of narcotics and stimulants, are carried to great lengths even by the Christian world. How many close their last precious hours of probationary time, in scenes of gaiety, feasting and amusement, where serious thoughts are not allowed to enter, where the spirit of Jesus would be unwelcome! Their last precious hours are passing while their minds are benumbed with tobacco and alcoholic liquors. There are not a few who pass directly from the dens of infamy to the sleep of death; they close their life-record among the associations of dissipation and vice. What will the awakening be at the resurrection of the unjust! ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 3

The eye of the Lord is open upon every scene of debasing amusement and profane dissipation. The words and deeds of the pleasure-lovers pass directly from these halls of vice to the Book of final records. What is the life of this class worth to the world, except as a beacon of warning to those who will be warned, not to live like these men, and die as the fool dieth. The apostle thus entreats, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 4

When we pursue a course of eating and drinking that lessens physical and mental vigor, or become the prey of habits that tend to the same results, we dishonor God, for we rob him of the service he claims from us. Those who acquire and indulge the unnatural appetite for tobacco, do this at the expense of health. They are destroying nervous energy, lessening vital force and sacrificing mental strength. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 5

Those who profess to be the followers of Christ yet have this terrible sin at their door, cannot have a high appreciation of the atonement and an elevated estimate of eternal things. Minds that are clouded and partially paralyzed by narcotics, are easily overcome by temptation, and cannot enjoy communion with God. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 6

Those who use tobacco can make but a poor plea to the liquor inebriate. Two-thirds of the drunkards in our land created an appetite for liquor by the use of tobacco. Those who claim that tobacco does not injure them, can be convinced of their mistake by depriving themselves of it for a few days; the trembling nerves, the giddy head, the irritability they feel, will prove to them that this sinful indulgence has bound them in slavery. It has overcome will power. They are in bondage to a vice that is fearful in its results. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 7

The love of tobacco is a warring lust. Means are thereby squandered that would aid in the good work of clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, and sending the truth to poor souls out of Christ. What a record will appear when the accounts of life are balanced in the book of God! It will then appear that vast sums of money have been expended for tobacco and alcoholic liquors! For what? To ensure health and prolong life? Oh, no! To aid in the perfection of Christian character and a fitness for the society of holy angels? Oh, no! But to minister to a depraved, unnatural appetite for that which poisons and kills not only the user but those to whom he transmits his legacy of disease and imbecility. God does not propose to work a miracle to preserve our health and strength which we are daily injuring by vice and habits of hurtful indulgence. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 8

Food prepared with condiments and spices inflames the stomach, corrupts the blood and paves the way to stronger stimulants. It induces nervous debility, impatience and lack of self-control. Tobacco and the wine-cup follow. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 9

We have seen that the victories gained by the “Temperance Crusade” are not often permanent. In those places where the excitement ran highest and apparently the most was accomplished in closing liquor saloons and reclaiming inebriates, after the lapse of a few months, intemperance prevailed to a greater extent than before the effort to suppress it was made. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 10

The reason of this is evident. The work is not deep and thorough. The axe is not laid at the root of the tree. The roots of intemperance lie deeper than mere liquor drinking. In order to make the temperance movement a success, the work of reform must begin at our tables. Eating flesh-meat does not increase physical, mental, or moral health, but, on the contrary, frequently causes diseases of a very aggravating character. The use of highly seasoned meats creates an appetite for stronger stimulants such as tobacco and liquor. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 11

The immediate results of meat-eating may be apparently to invigorate the system, but this is no reason for its being considered the best article of diet. The moderate use of brandy will have the same effect for the time being, but when its exciting influence is gone there follows a sense of languor and debility. Those who depend upon simple and nutritious food, that is comparatively unstimulating in its effects, can endure more labor in the course of months and years than the meat-eater or the liquor-drinker. They who work in the open air will feel less injury from the use of flesh-meats than those of sedentary habits, for sun and air are great helps to digestion, and do much to counteract the effect of wrong habits of eating and drinking. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 12

All stimulants hurry the human machinery too fast, and although, for the time, activity and vigor may seem to be increased, in proportion to the irritating influence employed, there must be a reaction; a debility will follow corresponding in degree to the unnatural excitement that has been produced. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 13

When this debility is felt, something to stimulate and tone up the system is again used to give immediate relief from disagreeable languor. Nature is gradually educated to rely upon this oft-repeated remedy, until her powers are enfeebled by being often aroused to unnatural action. All persons should become acquainted with the laws of their being. It should be an important subject of study, how to live, how to regulate labor, and how to eat and drink in reference to health. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 14

The more simply and naturally we live the better shall we be able to resist epidemic and disease. If our habits are good and the system is not weakened by unnatural action, Nature will furnish all the stimulus that we require. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 15

If men and women perseveringly live in accordance with the laws of life and of health, they will realize the blessed results of an entire health reform. But many make a mistake at the very commencement of their reform. They go to extremes. They carry their ideas too far. Their views in regard to healthful diet are too narrow. They have the same articles of food upon their tables, with scarcely a variation, from week to week, and from month to month. They take no pains to prepare fruits and grains in an inviting as well as healthful manner, and, after this course has been rigidly followed for a while, they decide that they cannot follow out the principles of health reform, and go back to their former manner of living. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 16

Those who set out from impulse and pursue a radical course for a time and then go back, do great injury to the cause. Many make too great and sudden changes in their diet. As the light of health reform comes to them, conscience is aroused in regard to their eating and drinking, and in their effort to change their habits of living they do not preserve a safe medium, but go to an extreme at once. They reduce the quantity and quality of their food. This abstemiousness reduces their strength, and really injures their health. They finally conclude that they cannot live the health reform. The real facts in the case are, they never did carry out its principles. Health reform as we understand it, does not consist in an impoverished diet. The table should be well provided with fruits and grains prepared in such a manner that they are not only nutritious but inviting. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 17

Some get the idea that to adopt the health reform is to subsist upon the very cheapest food prepared with the least labor. This is not true. It is a libel on the principles of health reform. The human system must have nourishment, and all cannot relish the same dishes. So when the table is spread with the same article of food, prepared in the same way, meal after meal and day after day, some members of the family may be well satisfied and enjoying their food very much, while others may be only able to eat sparingly of one dish and the wants of the system will not be met; for it is a fact that some persons cannot relish, or be nourished by articles of food which others enjoy and thrive upon. But every person may do much towards educating the taste and appetite to relish plain and healthful food, such as graham bread and oat-meal gruel, and various vegetables, even if they are at first distasteful to them. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 18

The rule which some recommend, is to eat whenever there is a sense of hunger, and to eat until satisfied. This course will lead to disease and numerous evils. Appetite at the present day is not generally natural, therefore is not a correct index to the wants of the system. It has been pampered and misdirected until it has become morbid and can no longer be a safe guide. Nature has been abused, her efforts crippled by wrong habits and indulgence in sinful luxuries, until taste and appetite are alike perverted. It is unnatural to have a craving for flesh-meats. It was not thus in the beginning. The appetite for meat has been made and educated by man. Our Creator has furnished us, in vegetables, grain, and fruits, all the elements of nutrition necessary to health and strength. Flesh-meats composed no part of the food of Adam and Eve before their fall. If fruits, vegetables and grains are not sufficient to meet the wants of man, then the Creator made a mistake in providing for Adam. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 19

The habits of the age are serious obstacles to the perfecting of Christian character. Physically we are composed of what we eat, and our minds are greatly influenced by our bodies. If we subsist largely upon the flesh of animals, the animal nature is increased in like proportion. Man is sufficiently animal in his nature without cultivating those propensities by the eating of food which stimulates and excites the animal organs to activity. As these propensities are strengthened the mental and moral powers are diminished. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 20

God did not withhold meat from the Hebrews in the wilderness simply to show his authority, but for their good, that they might preserve physical and moral strength. He knew that the use of animal food strengthens the animal passions and enfeebles the intellect. He knew that the gratification of the appetite of the Hebrews for flesh-meats, would weaken their moral powers, and induce such an irritable disposition that the vast army would become insubordinate, that they would lose the high sense of their moral obligations, and refuse to be controlled by the wise laws of Jehovah. Violence and rebellion would exist among them, making it impossible for them to be a pure and happy people in the land of Canaan. God knew what was best for the children of Israel, therefore he deprived them in a great measure of flesh-meats. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 21

Satan tempted them to consider this unjust and cruel. He caused them to lust after forbidden things, because he saw that through the indulgence of perverted appetite they would become carnally-minded and could be easily brought to do his will; the lower organs would be strengthened, while the intellectual and moral powers would be weakened. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 22

Satan is no novice in the business of destroying souls. He well knows that if he can lead men and women into wrong habits of eating and drinking, he has gained, in a great degree, the control of their minds and baser passions. In the beginning man ate of the fruits of the earth, but sin brought into use the flesh of dead animals as food. This diet works directly against the spirit of true refinement and moral purity. The substance of that which is taken into the stomach, passes into the circulation, and is converted into flesh and blood. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 23

Those who subsist largely upon flesh-meats inflame the stomach thereby, the blood becomes torpid and impure, head-aches and indispositions follow. The system is filled with humors; fevers, scrofula and cancers are the consequences. Especially is this true of those who eat swine's flesh. Yet so great is the tendency to ignore these evils, that few can be brought to realize the true effects of this sort of diet upon the human system. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 24

God requires that his people should be temperate in all things. The example of Christ, during that long fast in the wilderness, should teach his followers to repulse Satan when he comes under the guise of appetite. Then may they have influence to reform those who have been led astray by indulgence, and have lost moral power to overcome the weakness and sin that has taken possession of them. Thus may Christians secure health and happiness, in a pure, well-ordered life and a mind clear and untainted before God. ST January 6, 1876, Art. A, par. 25