The Review and Herald

252/1902

March 25, 1884

May Christians Manufacture Wine and Cider?

EGW

I have received letters from different individuals, inquiring if I think it in accordance with our faith to raise hops, knowing that they are principally used in the manufacture of intoxicating drinks, or to engage in the manufacture of wine or cider for the market. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 1

I cannot see how, in the light of the law of God, Christians can conscientiously engage in these pursuits. All these articles may be put to a good use, and prove a blessing; and they may be perverted to a wrong use, and prove a temptation and a curse. Cider and wine may be canned when fresh, and kept sweet a long time, and if used in an unfermented state, they will not dethrone reason. But do we know of what this palatable sweet cider is made? Those who manufacture apples into cider for the market are not very careful as to the condition of the fruit used, and in many cases the juice of decayed apples is expressed. Those who would not think of taking the poison of rotten apples into their system, will drink the cider made from them, and call it a luxury; but the microscope would reveal the fact that this pleasant beverage is often unfit for the human stomach, even when fresh from the press. If it is boiled, and care is taken to remove the impurities, it is less objectionable. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 2

I have often heard people say, “Oh! this is only sweet cider; it is perfectly harmless, and even healthful.” Several quarts, perhaps gallons, are carried home. For a few days it is sweet; then fermentation begins. The sharp flavor makes it all the more acceptable to many palates, and the lover of sweet wine or cider is loath to admit that his favorite beverage ever becomes hard and sour. Persons may become just as really intoxicated on wine and cider as on stronger drinks, and the worst kind of inebriation is produced by these so-called milder drinks. The passions are more perverse; the transformation of character is greater, more determined, and obstinate. A few quarts of cider or sweet wine may awaken a taste for stronger drinks, and many who have become confirmed drunkards have thus laid the foundation of the drinking habit. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 3

It is not safe, by any means, for some to have wine or cider in the house. They have inherited an appetite for stimulants, which Satan is continually soliciting them to indulge. If they yield to his temptations, they do not stop; appetite clamors for indulgence, and is gratified to their ruin. The brain is benumbed and clouded; reason no longer holds the reins, but they are laid on the neck of lust. Licentiousness, adultery, and vices of almost every type are committed as the result of indulging the appetite for wine and cider. A professor of religion who loves these stimulants, and accustoms himself to their use, never grows in grace. He becomes gross and sensual; the animal passions control the higher powers of the mind, and virtue is not cherished. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 4

Moderate drinking is the school in which men are receiving an education for the drunkard's career. So gradually does Satan lead away from the strongholds of temperance, so insidiously do the harmless wine and cider exert their influence upon the taste, that the highway to drunkenness is entered upon all unsuspectingly. The taste for stimulants is cultivated; the nervous system is disordered; Satan keeps the mind in a fever of unrest; and the poor victim imagining himself perfectly secure, goes on and on, until every barrier is broken down, every principle sacrificed. The strongest resolutions are undermined; and eternal interests are not strong enough to keep the debased appetite under the control of reason. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 5

Some are never really drunk, but are always under the influence of cider or fermented wine. They are feverish, unbalanced in mind, not really delirious, but in fully as evil a condition; for all the noble powers of the mind are perverted. A tendency to disease of various kinds, as dropsy, liver complaint, trembling nerves, and a determination of blood to the head, results from the habitual use of sour cider. By its use, many bring upon themselves permanent disease. Some die of consumption or fall under the power of apoplexy from this cause alone. Some suffer from dyspepsia. Every vital function refuses to act, and the physicians tell them that they have liver complaint, when if they would break in the head of the cider barrel, and never give way to the temptation to replace it, their abused life-forces would recover their vigor. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 6

Cider-drinking leads to the use of stronger drinks. The stomach loses its natural vigor, and something stronger is needed to arouse it to action. On one occasion when my husband and myself were traveling, we were obliged to spend several hours waiting for the train. While we were in the depot, a red-faced, bloated farmer came into the restaurant connected with it, and in a loud, rough voice asked, “Have you first-class brandy?” He was answered in the affirmative, and ordered half a tumbler. “Have you pepper sauce?” “Yes,” was the answer. “Well, put in two large spoonfuls.” He next ordered two spoonfuls of alcohol added, and concluded by calling for “a good dose of black pepper.” The man who was preparing it asked, “What will you do with such a mixture? He replied, “I guess that will take hold,” and placing the full glass to his lips, drank the whole of this fiery compound. Said my husband, “That man has used stimulants until he has destroyed the tender coats of the stomach. I should suppose that they must be as insensible as a burnt boot.” RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 7

Many, as they read this, will laugh at the warning of danger. They will say, “Surely the little wine or cider that I use cannot hurt me.” Satan has marked such as his prey; he leads them on step by step, and they perceive it not until the chains of habit and appetite are too strong to be broken. We see the power that appetite for strong drink has over men; we see how many of all professions and of heavy responsibilities, men of exalted station, of eminent talents, of great attainments, of fine feeling, of strong nerves, and of high reasoning powers, sacrifice everything for the indulgence of appetite until they are reduced to the level of the brutes; and in very many cases their downward course commenced with the use of wine or cider. Knowing this, I take my stand decidedly in opposition to the manufacture of wine or cider to be used as a beverage. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 8

When intelligent men and women who are professedly Christians, plead that there is no harm in making wine or cider for the market, because when unfermented it will not intoxicate, I feel sad at heart. I know there is another side to this subject that they refuse to look upon; for selfishness has closed their eyes to the terrible evils that may result from the use of these stimulants. I have a few acres of land that, when I purchased it, was set out to wine grapes; but I will not sell one pound of these grapes to any winery. The money I should get for them would increase my income; but rather than aid the cause of intemperance by allowing them to be converted into wine, I would let them decay upon the vines. And I do not see how our brethren can abstain from all appearance of evil, and engage largely in the business of hop-raising, knowing to what use the hops are put. Those who help to produce these beverages that encourage and educate the appetite for stimulants, will be rewarded as their works have been. They are transgressors of the law of God; and they will be punished for the sins which they commit, and for those which they have influenced others to commit through the temptations which they have placed in their way. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 9

Let all who profess to believe the truth for this time, and to be reformers, act in accordance with their faith. If one whose name is on the church book manufactures wine or cider for the market, he should be faithfully labored with, and if he continues the practice, he should be placed under censure of the church. Those who will not be dissuaded from doing this work, are unworthy of a place and a name among the people of God. We are to be followers of Christ, to set our hearts and our influence against every evil practice. How should we feel in the day when God's judgments are poured out, to meet men who have become drunkards through our influence? We are living in the antitypical day of atonement, and our cases must soon come in review before God. How shall we stand in the courts of Heaven, if our course of action has encouraged the use of stimulants that pervert reason, and are destructive of virtue, purity, and the love of God? RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 10

The lawyer asked Christ, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He 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.” Eternal life is the prize at stake, and Christ tells us how we may gain it. He directs us to the written word, “How readest thou?” The way is there pointed out; we are to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. But if we love our neighbor as ourselves, we shall not throw upon the market anything that will be a snare to him. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 11

Love to God and man is the Christian's whole duty. The law of love is written upon the tablets of the soul, the spirit of Christ dwells in him, and his character appears in good works. Jesus became poor, that through his poverty we might be made rich. What sacrifices are we willing to make for his sake? Have we his love enshrined in our hearts? Do we love our neighbor as Christ loved him? If we have this love for souls, it will lead us to consider carefully whether by our words, our acts, our influence in any way, we are placing temptation before those who have little moral power. We shall not censure the weak and suffering, as the Pharisees were continually doing; but we shall endeavor to remove every stone of stumbling from our brother's path, lest the lame be turned out of the way. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 12

As a people, we profess to be reformers, to be light-bearers in the world, to be faithful sentinels for God, guarding every avenue whereby Satan could come in with his temptations to pervert the appetite. Our example and influence must be a power on the side of reform. We must abstain from any practice which will blunt the conscience, or encourage temptation. We must open no door that will give Satan access to the mind of one human being formed in the image of God. If all would be vigilant and faithful in guarding the little openings made by the moderate use of the so-called harmless wine and cider, the highway to drunkenness would be closed up. What is needed in every community is firm purpose, and a will to touch not, taste not, handle not; then the temperance reformation would be strong, permanent, and thorough. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 13

The love of money will lead men to violate conscience. Perhaps that very money may be brought to the Lord's treasury; but he will not accept any such offering, it is an offense to him. It was obtained by transgressing his law, which requires that a man love his neighbor as himself. It is no excuse for the transgressor to say that if he had not made wine or cider, somebody else would, and his neighbor might have become a drunkard just the same. Because some will place the bottle to their neighbor's lips, will Christians venture to stain their garments with the blood of souls,—to incur the curse pronounced upon those who place this temptation in the way of erring men? Jesus calls upon his followers to stand under his banner, and aid in destroying the works of the devil. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 14

The world's Redeemer, who knows well the state of society in the last days, represents eating and drinking as the sins that condemn this age. He tells us that as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Son of man is revealed. “They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away.” Just such a state of things will exist in the last days, and those who believe these warnings will use the utmost caution not to take a course that will bring them under condemnation. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 15

Brethren, let us look at this matter in the light of the Scriptures, and exert a decided influence on the side of temperance in all things. Apples and grapes are God's gifts; they may be put to excellent use as healthful articles of food, or they may be abused by being put to a wrong use. Already God is blighting the grape vine and the apple crop because of men's sinful practices. We stand before the world as reformers; let us give no occasion for infidels or unbelievers to reproach our faith. Said Christ, “Ye are the salt of the earth,” “the light of the world.” Let us show that our hearts and consciences are under the transforming influence of divine grace, and that our lives are governed by the pure principles of the law of God, even though these principles may require the sacrifice of temporal interests. RH March 25, 1884, Art. A, par. 16