The Signs of the Times


July 6, 1891

A Talk on Temperance



In the days of Israel, when the sanctuary service was instituted, the Lord directed that only sacred fire should be used in the burning of incense. The holy fire was of God’s own kindling, and the fragrant smoke represented the prayers of the people as they ascended before God. Nadab and Abihu were priests of the sanctuary, and although it was not lawful to use common fire, these priests, when they went in before God, presumed to kindle their incense with unconsecrated fire. The priests had been indulging in the use of wine, and their moral sensibilities were benumbed; they did not discern the character of their actions, or realize what would be the fearful consequences of their sin. A fire blazed out from the holy of holies and consumed them. ST July 6, 1891, par. 1

After the destruction of Nadab and Abihu, the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: “Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, least [lest] ye die; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations; and that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.” The priests and judges of Israel were to be men of strict temperance, that their minds might be clear to discriminate between right and wrong, that they might possess firmness of principle, and wisdom to administer justice and to show mercy. ST July 6, 1891, par. 2

What an improvement would there be in our own land if these injunctions were carried out, if men in sacred and judicial positions should live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Does not God, who made man, know what is best for him, what is most conducive to his spiritual and eternal interests? God is working for the highest good of his creatures. If men were strictly temperate, we should not have a tithe of the deaths we now have, and physical and mental suffering would be greatly diminished. There would be far fewer accidents by land and sea. It is because man will do as he pleases, instead of submitting to God’s requirement, that so much evil is in the world. ST July 6, 1891, par. 3

How can men trust the decisions of jurors who are addicted to the use of liquor and tobacco? If they are called to decide on an important case when deprived of their accustomed stimulants, they cannot exercise their minds in a healthful way; they are in no condition to render an intelligent judgment; and what would their decision be worth? ST July 6, 1891, par. 4

Men in responsible positions should be men of temperance and integrity, and especially should those who are intrusted with judicial functions be men of sober habits, that they may render justice, and be unbiased by bribe or prejudice. But how widely different is the condition of our judicial and governmental affairs from that made possible through obedience to the commands of God. Liquor, tobacco, low morals lead men to deal treacherously with their fellow men. ST July 6, 1891, par. 5

On every hand there is temptation for our young men, as well as for those of mature years. In both America and Europe the places of vice and destruction are made attractive by exhibitions and music, that unwary feet may be led into the snare. Everything possible is done to lure the young into the saloon. What shall be done to save our youth? Christ made an infinite sacrifice, he became poor that we through his poverty might become rich and have a life that measures with the life of God, and shall we make no sacrifice to save those who are going to ruin about us? What are we doing for the cause of temperance, to save our youth today? Who is standing by the side of Christ, as a laborer together with God? ST July 6, 1891, par. 6

Parents, are you teaching your children to overcome? Are you seeking to check the tide of evil that threatens to overwhelm our land? Mothers, are you doing your work as educators? Are you teaching your children in their childhood habits of self-control and temperance? Do not wait till passion holds them in its iron bands, but now take them to God, teach them that Jesus loves them, that Heaven has claims upon them. In their youth put their hands into the hands of Christ, that he may lead them up. Mothers, rouse to your moral responsibility, and work for your children as those who must give an account. We must do something to stop the tide of evil, that the children and youth may not be swept down to perdition. We must be overcomers, and must teach our children to overcome. ST July 6, 1891, par. 7

In the wilderness of temptation, Christ passed over the ground where Adam fell. He began the work where the ruin began, and on the point of appetite he overcame the power of the evil one in our behalf. Satan left the field a vanquished foe, and no one is excused from entering the battle on the Lord’s side, for there is no reason why man may not be an overcomer if he trusts in Christ. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” ST July 6, 1891, par. 8

Through the merits of Christ we are to be purified, refined, redeemed, and given a place with Christ on his throne. Could any greater honor be conferred upon man than this? Could we aspire to anything greater? If we are overcomers, Christ declares, “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” ST July 6, 1891, par. 9