The Review and Herald

722/1902

May 29, 1894

Law-Makers Required to Be Public Benefactors

EGW

When the lawyer asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life, the Master said unto him, “What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” In order to be a recipient of eternal life, it is necessary to love God supremely and our neighbors as ourselves. We are to be our brother's keeper, not his destroyer. We are not to lead him into false paths. The Lord Jesus made the sacrifice of his own life in order to restore man to his first uprightness of character. But Satan is working with every possible device, using his trained confederacy of evil agencies to draw men away from obedience to God's law, and cause them to transgress even as he caused Adam to transgress in the beginning. RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 1

There are men who have taken high positions of trust, who have put themselves under solemn vows to work for the good of the people, who are untrue to those vows, who are not acting the part of brother's keepers; but who are violating the principles of God's law, and failing to love their neighbors as themselves. Law-makers are permitting breweries to be planted all over the land, thus defiling the earth, and supplying to saloons that which they know to be a deadly evil. Drinking houses are scattered all over the cities and towns inviting the traveler to stop and water his horses at the troughs which are so convenient for the purpose, and also to come in and spend his money for a glass of some intoxicating drink. The water in the trough is a blessing to the thirsty horses, but what a curse is the liquor to the man who enters and drinks. The traveler enters the public house with his reason, with ability to walk in an upright manner; but look at him as he leaves. The luster is gone from his eye. The power to walk uprightly is gone; he reels to and fro like a ship at sea. His reasoning power is paralyzed, the image of God is destroyed. The poisoning, maddening draft has left a brand upon him so evil that nature rebels, and refuses to own him. He is the slave of depraved appetite; and his brethren, instead of coming to his help to break every yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, bind him the faster in his chains. They rob his wife and children of his money, and take away from them a kind and sensible father and husband, by dealing out to him a potion that makes him a madman. Body and soul he is in slavery, and he cannot distinguish between right and wrong. The liquor-dealer has put his bottle to his neighbors’ lips, and under its influence he is full of cruelty and murder, and in his madness actually commits murder. RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 2

He is brought before an earthly tribunal, and those who legalized the traffic are forced to deal with the results of their own work. They authorized by law the giving to this man a draft that would turn him from a sane man into a madman, and yet now it is necessary for them to send him to prison and to the gallows for his crime. His wife and children are left in destitution and poverty, to become the charge of the community in which they live. Soul and body the man is lost,—cut off from earth, and with no hope of heaven. RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 3

But there is a higher tribunal than that of earth, and in that tribunal the effect is traced to the cause, and the man who put the bottle to his neighbors’ lips is charged with the sins of him who committed murder through the influence of the draft that robbed him of his reason. The blood of souls is found upon the garments of those who legalize the liquor traffic. RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 4

The victims of the drink habit become so maddened under the influence of liquor that they are willing to sell their reason for a glass of whisky. They do not keep the commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Their moral power is so weakened that they have no strength to resist temptation, and their desire for drink is so strong that it eclipses all other desires, and they have no realization of the fact that God requires them to love him with all their hearts. They are practical idolaters; for whatever alienates the affections from the Creator, whatever weakens and deadens moral power, usurps his throne, and receives the service that is due to him alone. In all these vile idolatries Satan is worshiped. RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 5

He who tarries at the wine is playing the game of life with Satan. He it is who has made evil men his agents, so that those who begin the drink habit may be made into drunkards. He has his plans laid that when the brain is confused with liquor, he will drive the drunkard to desperation, and cause him to commit some atrocious crime. In the idol he has set up for the man to worship is all pollution and crime, and the worship of the idol will ruin both soul and body, and extend its evil influence to the wife and children of the drunkard. The drunkard's corrupt tendencies are transmitted to his posterity, and through them to the coming generations. RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 6

But are not the rulers of the land largely responsible for the aggravated crimes, the current of deadly evil, that is the result of the liquor traffic? Is it not their duty and in their power to remove this deadly evil? Satan has formed his plans, and he counsels with legislators, and they receive his advice, and thus keep in activity, through legislative enactments, a multiplicity of evil, which results in much misery and crime of so terrible a character that human pen cannot portray it. A demon power is at work through human instruments, and men are tempted to indulge appetite until they lose all control of themselves. The sight of a drunken man, were the sight not so common, would arouse public indignation, and cause the drink traffic to be swept away; but the power of Satan has so hardened human hearts, so perverted human judgment, that men can look upon the woe, the crime, the poverty, which floods the world through the drink traffic, and remain indifferent. RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 7

When a ship is wrecked in sight of shore, and the people look on powerless to help, they are shocked and pained beyond measure. They talk of every possible means whereby they might save those who are perishing; and after the ship has gone down, and the lives are lost, they still try to think of some means that might have been successful in saving the perishing. But there is a deadly evil in our land, which is sanctioned by law. Day after day, month after month, year after year, Satan's death traps are set in our communities, at our doors, at the street corners, wherever it is possible to catch souls, that their moral power may be destroyed, and the image of God obliterated, and they be sunken in degradation far below the level of the brute. Souls are imperiled and perishing, and where is the active energy, the determined effort on the part of Christians, to raise a warning signal, to enlighten their fellow men, to save their perishing brothers? We are not to talk of devising methods to save those who are dead and lost, but to move upon those who are not yet beyond the reach of sympathy and help. We are to present to these souls who are guilty and polluted, the truth that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 8

Will souls always have to struggle for the victory, and the doors of temptation open before their very faces? Will Satan always find agents to tempt those who are weak in moral power? Drawn into these dens of vice, will he who has resolved to quit drink, be led to seize the glass again, and in the first sip of the intoxicant, find every good resolution overpowered and gone? One taste of the maddening draft, and all thought of the suffering, heart-crushed wife has vanished. The debauched father cares no more that his children are hungry and naked. By legalizing the liquor traffic, the law gives its sanction to the downfall of the soul, and refuses to stop the traffic that floods the world with evil. Let law-makers consider whether or not all this imperiling of human life, of physical power and mental vision, is unavoidable. Is all this destruction of human life necessary? RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 9

How many frightful accidents occur through the influence of drink. Some one at an important railway station fails to give the right signal, or sends an incorrect message. On comes the train. There is a collision, and hundreds of lives are lost. When the matter is investigated, it is found that the man at his post was drunk. A steamer at sea meets with a disaster, and when the matter is traced to its source, it is found that the engineer was drunk, or that the captain had taken too much liquor at supper. What is the portion of this terrible intoxicant that any man can take, and be safe with the lives of human beings? He can be safe only as he abstains from drink. He should not have his mind confused with drink. No intoxicant should pass his lips; then if disaster comes, men in responsible places can do their best, and meet their record with satisfaction, whatever may be the issue. RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 10

Let every soul remember that he is under sacred obligations to God to do his best for his fellow-creatures. How careful should every one be not to create a desire for stimulants. By advising friends and neighbors to take brandy for the sake of their health, they are in danger of becoming agents for the destruction of their friends. Many incidents have come to my attention in which through some simple advice, men and women have become the slaves of the drink habit. Physicians are responsible for making many drunkards. Knowing what drink will do for its lovers, they have taken upon themselves the responsibility of prescribing it for their patients. Did they reason from cause to effect, they would know that stimulants would have the same effect on every organ of the body as they have on the whole man. What excuse can doctors render for the influence they have exerted in making fathers and mothers drunkards? These fathers and mothers transmit their appetite to their children, and thus the evil is perpetuated, and crime and misery are increased. Thus it is that degradation, poverty, and woe are filling our world. Thus it is that ignorance and evil are wide-spread, and that the records show increasing hunger, nakedness, wretchedness, and transgression. RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 11

The end of all things is at hand, and if the days were not shortened, there would no flesh be saved; for iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxes cold. The world is becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah, like the world before the flood, and terrible scenes are before us. What will be the record that law-makers will have to meet? The judgment will sit, and the books will be opened, and every man will be judged according to the things written in the books. Jesus says, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Law-makers and liquor-dealers may wash their hands as did Pilate, but they will not be clean from the blood of souls. The ceremony of washing their hands will not cleanse them when by their influence or agency, they have helped to make men drunkards. They will be held accountable for the millions of dollars that have been wasted in consuming the consumers. No one can blind himself to the terrible results of the drink traffic. The daily papers show that the wretchedness, the poverty, the crime, that result from this traffic, are not cunningly devised fables, and that hundreds of men are growing rich off the pittances of the men they are sending to perdition by their dreadful drink business. O that a public sentiment might be created that would put an end to the drink traffic, close the saloons, and give these maddened men a chance to think on eternal realities! RH May 29, 1894, Art. A, par. 12