The Signs of the Times


January 27, 1909

The Importance of True Temperance
Temperance In All Things


The apostle Paul here mentions the foot-races, with which the Corinthians were familiar. The contestants in these races were subjected to the most severe discipline in order to fit them for the trial of their strength. Their diet was simple. Luxurious food and wine were prohibited. Their food was carefully selected. They studied to know what was best adapted to render them healthful and active, and to impart physical vigor and endurance, that they might put as heavy a tax as possible upon their strength. Every indulgence that would tend to weaken the physical powers was forbidden. ST January 27, 1909, par. 2

By this figure, Paul seeks to impress upon the Christian the necessity of doing his best to obtain a fitness for the work to which he is called. “So run, that ye may obtain,” he says. To win the prize for which these contestants strove,—a chaplet of perishable flowers, bestowed amid the applause of the multitude,—was considered the highest honor. But what a vast difference between the contest for such a crown and the race of the Christian for a crown incorruptible! ST January 27, 1909, par. 3

The Saviour presents for our consideration something higher than what we shall eat and drink and wherewithal we shall be clothed. In our days, eating and drinking and dressing are carried to such excess that they become sinful. They are among the marked sins of the last days, and constitute a sign of Christ's soon-coming. Time, money, and strength, which belong to the Lord, but which He has entrusted to us, are wasted in superfluities of dress, and in luxuries for the perverted appetite, indulgences which lessen vitality and bring suffering and decay. ST January 27, 1909, par. 4

Our first duty, one which we owe to God, to ourselves, and to our fellow men, is to obey the laws of God. These include the laws of health. If we are sick, we impose a wearing tax upon our friends, and unfit ourselves for doing our duty, either to the family or to our neighbors. And when premature death is the result, we bring sorrow and suffering to others; we rob our families of the comfort and help which they should have received from us, and rob God of the service He claims of us to advance His glory. ST January 27, 1909, par. 5

In order to preserve health, we must practise temperance in all things—temperance in labor, in study, in eating and in drinking. Our heavenly Father would have us use with discretion the good things He has provided for us. ST January 27, 1909, par. 6

Temperance and Spirituality

Those who by habits of intemperance injure mind and body, place themselves in a position where they are unable to discern spiritual things. The mind is confused, and they yield readily to temptation, because they have not a clear discernment of the difference between right and wrong. Sinful indulgence defiles the body, and unfits men for spiritual worship. He who cherishes the principles of true temperance, has an important aid in the work of becoming sanctified through the truth, and fitted for immortality. But if he disregards the laws of his physical being, how can he perfect holiness in the fear of God? ST January 27, 1909, par. 7

The religion of the Bible is not detrimental to the health of either body or mind. The influence of the Spirit of God is the very best medicine for disease. Heaven is all health; and the more deeply heavenly influences are realized, the more sure will be the recovery of the believing invalid. The true principles of Christianity open before all a source of inestimable happiness. True religion is a continual well-spring, from which the Christian can drink at will, and never exhaust the fountain. ST January 27, 1909, par. 8

The relation which exists between the body and the mind is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health of the physical system. If the mind is free and happy, from a consciousness of right-doing and a sense of satisfaction in causing happiness to others, it creates a cheerfulness that will react upon the whole system, causing a freer circulation of the blood, and a toning up of the entire body. The blessing of God is a healing power, and those who are abundant in benefiting others, will realize that wondrous blessing in both heart and life. ST January 27, 1909, par. 9

Our Reasonable Service

The apostle Paul exhorts the church, “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.” ST January 27, 1909, par. 10

Those who have been bought by the blood of His Son, God does not excuse from working faithfully in His service. Every true Christian is a coworker with Christ. Nothing can be more offensive to God than to cripple or abuse the gifts lent us to be devoted to His service. It is written, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” ST January 27, 1909, par. 11

In every important work, there are times of crisis, when there is great need that those connected with the work should have clear minds. There must be men who realize, as did the apostle Paul, the importance of practising temperance in all things. There is work for us to do—stern, earnest work for our Master. All our habits, tastes, and inclinations must be educated in harmony with the laws of life and health. By this means we may secure the very best physical condition, and have mental clearness to discern between the evil and the good. ST January 27, 1909, par. 12

Intemperance of any kind benumbs the perceptive organs, and so weakens the brain nerve-power that eternal things are not appreciated, but are placed on a level with common things. The higher powers of the mind, designed for noble purposes, are brought into slavery to the baser passions. If the physical habits are not right, the mental and moral powers can not be strong; for great sympathy exists between the physical and the moral. The apostle Peter understood this, and raised his voice of warning: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” ST January 27, 1909, par. 13

Thus the word of God plainly warns us that unless we abstain from fleshly lusts, the physical nature will be brought into conflict with the spiritual. Lustful indulgence wars against health and peace. A warfare is instituted between the higher and the lower attributes of the man. The lower propensities, strong and active, oppress the soul. The highest interests of the being are imperiled by the indulgence of unsanctified appetite. ST January 27, 1909, par. 14

As we receive light, we are to make advance moves. No one can depend upon a past experience. Let all seek to walk in the light, cleansing themselves from every habit that would tend to defile the physical system. We are to govern our appetites and passions by the revealed will of God. ST January 27, 1909, par. 15

“It is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” ST January 27, 1909, par. 16