The Review and Herald


October 25, 1906

Drunkenness and Crime


In these times, when the daily newspapers are filled with many horrible details of revolting drunkenness and terrible crime, there is a tendency to become so familiar with existing conditions that we lose sight of the significance of these conditions. Violence is in the land. More intoxicating liquor is used than has ever been used heretofore. The story of the resultant crime is given fully in the newspapers. And yet, notwithstanding the many evidences of increasing lawlessness, men seldom stop to consider seriously the meaning of these things. Almost without exception, men boast of the enlightenment and progress of the present age. RH October 25, 1906, par. 1

Upon us, to whom God has given great light, rests the solemn responsibility of calling the attention of thinking men and women to the significance of the prevalence of drunkenness and crime with which they are so familiar. We should bring before their minds the scriptures that plainly portray the conditions which shall exist just prior to the second coming of Christ. Faithfully should we uplift the divine standard, and raise our voices in protest against the sanctioning of the liquor traffic by legal enactment. RH October 25, 1906, par. 2

For a time after the great earthquake along the coast of California, the authorities in San Francisco and in some of the smaller cities and towns ordered the closing of all liquor saloons. So marked were the effects of this strictly enforced ordinance, that the attention of thinking men throughout America, and notably on the Pacific Coast, was directed to the advantages that would result from a permanent closing of all saloons. During many weeks following the earthquake in San Francisco, very little drunkenness was seen. No intoxicating drinks were sold. The disorganized and unsettled state of affairs gave the city officials reason to expect an abnormal increase of disorder and crime, and they were greatly surprised to find the opposite true. Those from whom was expected much trouble, gave but little. This remarkable freedom from violence and crime was traceable largely to the disuse of intoxicants. RH October 25, 1906, par. 3

The editors of some of the leading dailies took the position that it would be for the permanent betterment of society and for the upbuilding of the best interests of the city, were the saloons to remain closed forever. But wise counsel was swept aside, and within a few short weeks permission was given the liquor dealers to reopen their places of business, upon the payment of a considerably higher license than had formerly been paid into the city treasury. RH October 25, 1906, par. 4

In the calamity that befell San Francisco, the Lord designed to wipe out the liquor saloons that have been the cause of so much evil, so much misery and crime; and yet the guardians of the public welfare have proved unfaithful to their trust, by legalizing the sale of liquor. Those who have been placed in positions of official responsibility, and who in the recent past have become thoroughly familiar with the advantages of the closed saloon, now deliberately choose to enact laws sanctioning the carrying on of the liquor traffic. They know that in doing this, they are virtually licensing the commission of crime; and yet their knowledge of this sure result deters them not. RH October 25, 1906, par. 5

The evils that are so apparent at the present time, are the same that brought destruction to the antediluvian world. “In the days that were before the flood” one of the prevailing sins was drunkenness. From the record in Genesis we learn that “the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Crime reigned supreme; life itself was unsafe. Men whose reason was dethroned by intoxicating drink, thought little of taking the life of a human being. RH October 25, 1906, par. 6

“As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The drunkenness and the crime that now prevail, have been foretold by the Saviour himself. We are living in the closing days of this earth's history. It is a most solemn time. Everything betokens the soon return of our Lord. The very conditions we see in the great cities of our land; the mad acts of men whose minds have been inflamed by drugged liquor sold under sanction of human enactments; the dead and the dying whose destruction can be traced to the use of poisonous liquor,—all these evils are but a fulfilment of our Saviour's prophecy, whereby we may know that Jesus will soon appear in the clouds of heaven. RH October 25, 1906, par. 7

O, what a work there is before the faithful watchman who must quickly warn the people of the perils of these last days! How important it is that God's messengers shall call the attention of statesmen, of editors, of thinking men everywhere, to the deep significance of the drunkenness and the violence now filling the land with desolation and death! As faithful colaborers with God, we must bear a clear, decided testimony on the temperance question. RH October 25, 1906, par. 8

The Lord can not bear much longer with an intemperate and perverse generation. In days of old, when Moses was rehearsing the desire of Jehovah concerning his people, there were uttered against the drunkard the following words: RH October 25, 1906, par. 9

“The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousies shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.” RH October 25, 1906, par. 10

The people of San Francisco must answer at the judgment bar of God for the reopening of the liquor saloons in that city. O that our cities might reform! In places where the judgments of heaven have fallen, God is now proving those whose lives he has spared, as to whether they will continue to allow health and reason to be destroyed by the sale of maddening drink. Today, in many places, men are being tried in courts of justice, because under the influence of drugged liquor they have committed all manner of violence and sin. Satan looks on, highly gratified over the persistent determination of men to sell and use these poisonous drinks. RH October 25, 1906, par. 11

Well could it be said of the cities in our world today, as the Saviour declared of the cities “wherein most of his mighty works were done,” “Woe unto thee!” “The men of Nineveh shall rise up in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonah.” When the Lord sees men whom he has spared as he spared the inhabitants of Nineveh, continue to legalize and carry on the liquor traffic, the next stroke of the Infinite will be to destroy life. God has given men an opportunity to repent, to prepare to meet death with Christ's armor on, if death must come; and yet they continue in the wicked works that brought the cities under the rebuke and the chastening hand of God, and caused the devastation of that in which they took so much pride. RH October 25, 1906, par. 12

Human lives have been wonderfully preserved. Should there not be an acknowledgment of the Lord's mercy? Should there not be heartfelt repentance? Should not the liquor saloons that have wrought so much evil, be entirely abolished? RH October 25, 1906, par. 13

God is now withholding further vengeance, in order that a faithful work may be done by his ministers. Let there be proclaimed, with no uncertain sound, the message: “Watch; ... for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” In every place is to be heard the voice of the faithful sentinel of truth. God is now calling upon his servants to engage in this closing work of warning the world. Those whose talents have heretofore been tied up in mercantile and other worldly pursuits, are now to plan to use their talents speedily in proclaiming the third angel's message. Let not Satan keep you from engaging in this work. Count the cost of delay. Souls are perishing in sin. We must now improve every opportunity. RH October 25, 1906, par. 14

The world is to be warned; soon Jesus will come. We are to allow nothing to interpose between us and the work God has given us to do. The people must hear the truth in clear, distinct lines. Just at this time we must make special efforts to bring the truth before those who live in our cities. As we near the close of this earth's history, we shall see repeated in many other places the calamity that befell San Francisco. Now is our golden opportunity to co-operate with heavenly intelligences in enlightening the understanding of those who are studying the meaning of the rapid increase of crime and disaster. As we do our part faithfully, the Lord will bless our efforts to the saving of many precious souls. RH October 25, 1906, par. 15