The Signs of the Times


August 11, 1887

Temperance from the Christian Standpoint


The apostle addresses his brethren: “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.” Romans 12:1, 2. ST August 11, 1887, par. 1

Light and spiritual understanding have been given us upon health reform. The truth that has reached the understanding, the light that has shone upon us, should be appreciated and cherished or they will witness against us in the day of God. Truth has been given to save those who would believe and obey. The condemnation of the lost will not be because they did not have the light, but because they had the light and did not walk in it. ST August 11, 1887, par. 2

God has furnished man with abundance of means for the gratification of natural appetite. He has spread before him, in the products of the earth, a bountiful variety of food that is palatable to the taste and nutritious to the system. Of these, our benevolent heavenly Father says that we “may freely eat.” We may enjoy the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, without doing violence to the laws of our being. These articles, prepared in the most simple and natural manner, will nourish the body, and preserve its natural vigor, without the use of brandy, alcohol, wine beer, tea, or coffee. ST August 11, 1887, par. 3

God created man a little lower than the angels, and bestowed upon him attributes that will, if properly used, make him a blessing to the world, and cause him to reflect the glory to the Giver. But although made in the image of God, man has, through intemperance, violated principle and God's law in his physical nature. Intemperance of any kind benumbs the perceptive organs, and so weakens the brain nerve power that eternal things are not appreciated, but are placed upon a level with common things. The higher powers of the mind, designed for elevated purposes, are brought into slavery to the baser passions. If our physical habits are not right, our mental and moral powers cannot be strong; for great sympathy exists between the physical and moral. The apostle Peter understood this, and raised his voice of warning to his brethren: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” ST August 11, 1887, par. 4

There is but little moral power in the professed Christian world. Wrong habits have been indulged, and physical and moral laws have been disregarded, until the general standard of virtue and piety is exceedingly low. Habits which lower the standard of physical health enfeeble mental and moral strength. The indulgence of unnatural appetites and passions has a controlling influence upon the nerves of the brain. The animal organs are strengthened, while the moral and spiritual are depressed. It is impossible for an intemperate man to be a Christian, for his higher powers are brought into slavery to the lower passions. ST August 11, 1887, par. 5

Those who have had the light upon eating and dressing with simplicity, in obedience to physical and moral laws, and who turn from the light which points out their duty, will shun duty in other things. If they blunt their consciences to avoid the cross which they will have to take up to be in harmony with natural law, they will, in order to shun reproach, violate the ten commandments. There is a decided unwillingness with some to endure the cross and despise the shame. Some will be laughed out of their principles. Conformity to the world's customs and practices will separate the soul from God. There are in the Christian world many who think more of the praise of those who love not God than of the favor of Heaven. These will yield to temptation, and become more firmly wedded year by year to worldly fashions and indulgences of perverted appetite than they are to healthy bodies, sound mind, or sanctified hearts. ST August 11, 1887, par. 6

God is proving us, as he tested and proved Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, on the point of appetite, to develop what is in our hearts. Are we Christians? then we will eat and drink to the glory of God. Pride, self-indulgence, and love of the world have separated many from God. The principles of truth are by a large class virtually sacrificed, while they profess to love the truth. Christians should wake up and act with determined effort, for their influence is telling upon and moulding the opinions and habits of others. They will bear the weighty responsibility of deciding by their influence the destiny of souls. ST August 11, 1887, par. 7

The Lord, by close and pointed truths, is cleaving out a people from the world, and purifying them unto himself. Pride and unhealthful fashions, the love of display, the love of approbation,—all must be left with the world, if we would be renewed in knowledge after the image of him who created us. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” ST August 11, 1887, par. 8

The indulgence of the appetite, and the effort to keep pace with the fashions of this degenerate age, have brought into the heart of men selfishness, pride, envy, malice, evil-surmising, back-biting, gossiping, until the spirit of God has little to do with them. While some who profess to know God remain in their present state, their prayers are an abomination in his sight. They do not sustain their faith by their works, and it would have been better for some never to have professed the truth than to have dishonored their profession as they have done. While they profess to be servants of Christ, they are servants of the enemy of righteousness; and their works testify of them that they are not acquainted with God, and that their hearts are not in obedience to the will of Christ. They make child's play of religion; they act like pettish children. They serve God at will and let it alone at pleasure. ST August 11, 1887, par. 9

The children of God the world over are one great brotherhood. Our Saviour has clearly defined the spirit and principles which should govern the actions of those who, by their consistent, holy lives, distinguish themselves from the world. Love for one another, and supreme love to their heavenly Father, should be exemplified in their conversation and works. ST August 11, 1887, par. 10

That which should excite the greatest alarm is that we do not feel or sense our condition, our low estate, and that we are satisfied to remain as we are. We should flee to the word of God and to prayer, individually seeking the Lord earnestly, that we may find him. We should make this our first business. ST August 11, 1887, par. 11

The members of the church are responsible for the talents committed to their trust, and it is impossible for Christians to meet their responsibilities unless they occupy that elevated position that is in accordance with the sacred truths which they profess. The light that shines upon our pathway makes us responsible to let that light shine forth to others in such a manner that they will glorify God by good works. ST August 11, 1887, par. 12