The Signs of the Times


February 3, 1890

A Lesson for the Times


Entire abstinence from every pernicious indulgence, and especially tobacco and intoxicating drink, should be strenuously taught in our homes, both by precept and example. Upon no consideration should wine be placed upon our tables. Our children should grow up to consider it a deadly evil, leading to misery and crime. ST February 3, 1890, par. 1

The youth of today are the sure index to the future of society; and as we view them, what can we hope for the future? These young men are to take a part in the legislative councils of the nation; they will have a voice in enacting and executing its laws. How important, then, it is that the voice of warning should be raised against the indulgence of perverted appetite in those upon whom such solemn duties will rest! If parents would zealously teach total abstinence, and emphasize the lesson by their own unyielding example, many who are now on the brink of ruin might be saved. ST February 3, 1890, par. 2

What shall we say of the liquor sellers, who imperil life, health, and property, with perfect indifference? They are not ignorant of the result of their trade, but they become callous of heart. They listen carelessly to the complaints of famishing, half-clad mothers and children. Satan has no better agents by which to prepare souls for perdition, and he uses them with most telling effect. The liquor seller deals out his fiery draughts to men who have lost all control of reason and appetite; he takes their hard-earned money and gives no equivalent for it; he is the worst kind of robber. ST February 3, 1890, par. 3

We find in the special precepts given by God to the Hebrews, this command: “if an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die; then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit. But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him.” “And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein; the owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.” ST February 3, 1890, par. 4

The principle embodied in this statute holds good in our time. The liquor seller compares well with the man who turns a vicious ox loose upon his neighbors. The liquor seller is not ignorant of the effects of the fiery draught which he deals out unhesitatingly to husbands, fathers, youth, and aged men. He knows that it robs them of reason, and in many cases changes them to demons. The liquor seller makes himself responsible for the violence that is committed under the influence of the liquor he sells. If the drunkard commits murder under the effect of the maddening draught, the dealer who sold it to him, aware of the tendency of its effect, is in the sight of God equally responsible for the crime with him who did the deed. ST February 3, 1890, par. 5

The liquor dealer digs a pit for his neighbor to fall into. He has seen the consequences of liquor drinking too often to be ignorant of any one of their various phases. He knows that the hand of the man who drinks at his bar is likely to be raised against his own wife, his helpless children, or his aged father or mother. He knows, in very many instances, that the glass he hands to his customer will make him a raging madman, eager for quarrel and thirsting for blood. He knows that he is taking bread from the mouths of hungry children, that the pence which fall into his till, and enable him to live extravagantly, have deprived the drunkard's children of clothes, and robbed his family not only of the comforts, but of the very necessaries, of life. He is deaf to the appeals of weeping mothers, whose hearts are breaking from cruelty and neglect. ST February 3, 1890, par. 6

Crimes of the darkest dye are daily reported in the newspapers as the direct result of drunkenness. The prisons are filled with criminals who have been brought there by the use of liquor; and the blood of murdered victims cries to heaven for vengeance, as did the blood of Abel. The laws of the land punish the perpetrator of the deed; but the liquor seller, who is also morally responsible for it goes free; no man calls him a murderer; the community looks calmly on his unholy traffic, because justice is fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter. But God, who declared that if a man owned a dangerous ox, and knew it to be so, yet let it loose upon his neighbors, if it caused the death of any man or woman, he should pay the penalty with his own life—that just and terrible God will let fall the bolts of his wrath on the liquor vender who sells violence and death to his fellow-men in the poisonous cup of the inebriate, who deals him out that which takes away his reason and makes him a brute. ST February 3, 1890, par. 7

Parents who freely use wine and liquor leave to their children the legacy of a feeble constitution, mental and moral debility, unnatural appetites, irritable temper, and an inclination to vice. Parents should feel that they are responsible to God and to society to bring into existence beings whose physical, mental, and moral characters shall enable them to make a proper use of life, be a blessing to the world, and an honor to their Creator. The indulgence of perverted appetite is the greatest cause of the deterioration of the human race. The child of the drunkard or the tobacco inebriate usually has the depraved appetites and passions of the father intensified, and at the same time inherits less of his self-control and strength of mind. Men who are naturally calm and strong-minded not infrequently lose control of themselves while under the influence of liquor, and, though they may not commit crime, still have an inclination to do so, which might result in the act if a fair opportunity offered. Continued dissipation makes these propensities a second nature. Their children often receive the stamp of character before their birth; for the appetites of the parents are often intensified in the children. Thus unborn generations are afflicted by the use of tobacco and liquor. Intellectual decay is entailed upon them, and their moral perception is blunted. Thus the world is being filled with paupers, lunatics, thieves, and murderers; and disease, imbecility, and crime, with private and public corruption of every sort, are making the world a second Sodom. ST February 3, 1890, par. 8

For the sake of that high charity and sympathy for the souls of tempted men for whom Christ died, Christians should come out from the popular customs and evils of the age, and be forever separated from them. But we find in the clergy themselves the most insurmountable obstacle to the promotion of temperance. Many are addicted to the use of the filthy weed tobacco, which perverts the appetite, and creates the desire for some stronger stimulant. The indifference or disguised opposition of these men, many of whom occupy high and influential positions, is exceedingly damaging to the cause of temperance. ST February 3, 1890, par. 9

Mrs. E. G. White, in Bible Echo, Australia.