The Signs of the Times


September 1, 1887

The Victory Over Appetite


“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” ST September 1, 1887, par. 1

Here the battle between self-control and selfish indulgence is set forth. There is work for us to do, stern, earnest work, to decide which shall obtain the mastery. All our habits, tastes, and inclinations should be in accordance with the laws of health and life. By this means we may secure the very best physical conditions, and have mental clearness to discern between the evil and the good. ST September 1, 1887, par. 2

There are many expensive indulgences that are at the same time very injurious. They derange the digestive organs, and destroy the appetite for simple, wholesome food, and sickness and suffering are the result. With dyspepsia and its attendant evils comes the loss of a sweet disposition. There is irritability, fretfulness, impatience; and harsh, unkind words are spoken, which may result in the loss of a dear friend. Thus the books of Heaven show loss in many ways. ST September 1, 1887, par. 3

God is not unwilling that we should enjoy the blessings of life. He has placed in our hands abundant means for the gratification of natural appetite. In the products of the earth there is a bountiful variety of food that is both palatable and nutritious, and of these articles we “may freely eat.” We may enjoy the fruits, the vegetables, and the grains, which our benevolent heavenly Father has provided for our use, without doing violence to the laws of our being. Such a diet will nourish the body, and preserve its natural vigor, without the use of artificial stimulants and luxuries. ST September 1, 1887, par. 4

Intemperance commences at the table in the use of unhealthful food. After a time, as the digestive organs become weakened, the food does not satisfy the appetite, and there is a craving for more stimulating food and drinks. Tea, coffee, and flesh-meats produce an immediate effect, and are freely indulged in. Under their influence, the nervous system is excited, and in some cases, for the time being, the intellect seems to be invigorated, and the imagination to be more vivid. But there is always a reaction. The nervous system, having been unduly excited, borrowed power for present use from its future resources; and all this temporary invigoration of the system is followed by depression. The appetite, educated to crave something stronger, soon calls for tobacco, wines, and liquors. ST September 1, 1887, par. 5

The more the appetite is indulged, the more imperative are its demands, and the more difficult it is to control. The more debilitated the system becomes, and the less able to do without unnatural stimulants, the more the passion for these things increases, until the will is overborne, and there seems to be no power to deny the unnatural craving. ST September 1, 1887, par. 6

We are to be temperate in all things. Not only should we be careful to exercise judgment in the selection of proper food, but strict temperance in eating and in drinking is essential to the healthy preservation and vigorous exercise of all functions of the body. But intemperance in eating, even of healthful food, will have an injurious effect upon the system, and will blunt the mental and moral faculties. ST September 1, 1887, par. 7

Parents are many times responsible in this matter. They educate the taste of their children by indulging them in the use of unhealthful articles. They permit them to eat rich pastries and highly seasoned food, and to drink tea and coffee. They are thus laying the foundation for perverted appetites and ruining the health of their children. They should help them in this respect, and not place temptation in their way. ST September 1, 1887, par. 8

Frequently mothers permit their children to eat candy and sweetmeats, and the habit thus formed, besides involving an unwise expenditure of money, is ruinous to the health. One mother said to me, as she placed a package of candy in her child's hand, “It is only five cents’ worth.” It was a very poor quality of candy and highly colored. The child looked in my face with much interest, to see how I regarded the matter. Said I, “The lessons in the selfish indulgence of taste which you are giving your children are setting their feet in an evil path. You, as their guardian and teacher, should be helping them to overcome. You should be teaching them to cease to do evil and to learn to do well.” ST September 1, 1887, par. 9

Besides the injury that is done to the health, these indulgences of taste are in the end expensive. Though but a trifle may be spent at each time, they soon aggregate quite a sum; and this money might be spent for some useful purpose, or be given to the cause of God. Will you ponder these things my Christian friends, and see if you cannot, by self-denial, and the better health that will come with the better habits, accomplish more with your life than you have done hitherto? ST September 1, 1887, par. 10

Christian women can do much in the great work for the salvation of others by spreading their tables with only healthful, nourishing food. They can educate the tastes and appetites of their children; they can form in them habits of temperance in all things, and encourage benevolence and self-denial for the good of others. The moral sensibilities of Christians should be aroused upon this subject; that they may help those who are so weak in self-control as to be almost powerless to resist the cravings of appetite. If we could realize that the habits we form in this life will effect our eternal interests, we should be much more careful than we now are; and by our example and personal effort we might be the means of saving many souls from the degradation of intemperance and crime, and the consequent penalty of death. ST September 1, 1887, par. 11

Here is the battle before us, to subdue self and be temperate in all things if we would secure the incorruptible crown of immortal life. The prize is within our reach, and everyone may win it who will strive lawfully. But how many who have had precious opportunities and great light and privileges seem devoid of reason in regard to the purpose of life, and fail to realize the shame and confusion that will be theirs when they shall receive sentence according as their works have been. They might rise intellectually and morally if they would govern themselves; but this they will not do, for they love self supremely. ST September 1, 1887, par. 12

The lives of such persons are a shallow pretense. They do not aim at any high standard in personal character; but their attention is taken up with matters of dress, style, personal appearance, equipage, sensuous enjoyment. Reproof and warning are refused or disregarded. They do not like the effort it would require, and so make no exertion to change their course. After looking in the mirror, they forget what manner of characters they found represented there, and pursue their accustomed round of folly, which they call freedom and enjoyment. ST September 1, 1887, par. 13

They do not understand righteousness. If they would for a time change their course of action, and live a self-denying, godly life, being temperate in all things, they would have wisdom, strength, and power to live a noble, useful life. ST September 1, 1887, par. 14

To attain to such a life in this self-indulgent, lawless age, we must daily have the Spirit of Christ. But he is willing to bestow it upon those who range themselves under his blood-stained banner, fighting the battles of the Lord. There are precious victories to gain; and the victors in this contest against appetite and every worldly lust will receive a crown of life that fadeth not away, a blessed home in that city whose gates are of pearl and whose foundations are of precious stones. Is not this prize worth striving for? Is it not worth every effort that we can make? Then let us so run that we may obtain. ST September 1, 1887, par. 15

Basel, Switzerland.