The Review and Herald


September 23, 1884

Temperance in All Things


Only one lease of life is granted us here; and the inquiry with every one should be, How can I invest my life that it may yield the greatest profit? Life is valuable only as we improve it for the benefit of our fellow-creatures and the glory of God. Careful cultivation of the abilities with which the Creator has endowed us will fit us for usefulness here and eternal life in the world to come. RH September 23, 1884, par. 1

That time is well spent which is directed to the establishment and preservation of sound physical and mental health. It is too often the case that the precious boon of health is not appreciated until it is lost by transgression of nature's laws, and suffering and disease are experienced. It is easy to lose health, but it is difficult to regain it. RH September 23, 1884, par. 2

Many men in their eagerness to get money allow themselves to become so absorbed in business and the cares of this life that they sacrifice rest, sleep, and the comforts of life to this one object. Their naturally good constitutions are broken down, disease sets in, and death closes the scene. And yet the man who has obtained wealth at such a terrible price cannot take one dollar of it with him. Money, fine dwellings, and costly apparel avail him nothing now; his life-work is worse than useless. RH September 23, 1884, par. 3

We can ill afford to dwarf or cripple a single function of mind or body by overwork, or by abuse of any part of the living machinery. So sure as we do this, we must suffer the consequences. It is our first duty to God and our fellow-beings to develop all our powers. Every faculty with which the Creator has endowed us should be cultivated to the highest degree of perfection, that we may be able to do the greatest amount of good of which we are capable. The grace of Christ is needed to refine and purify the mind; this will enable us to see and correct our deficiencies, and to improve that which is excellent in our characters. This work, wrought for ourselves in the strength and name of Jesus, will be of more benefit to society than any sermon we might preach. The influence of a well-balanced, well-ordered life is of inestimable value. Intemperance is at the foundation of a large share of the ills of life. It destroys tens of thousands annually. Intemperance is not limited to the use of intoxicating liquors, but includes the hurtful indulgence of any appetite or passion. Today thousands are suffering from physical pain, and wishing again and again that they had never been born. God did not design this condition of things; it was brought about by the gross violation of nature's laws. If the appetites and passions were under the control of sanctified reason, society would present a widely different aspect. RH September 23, 1884, par. 4

Many things that are often made articles of diet are unfit for food; the taste for them is not natural, but has been cultivated. Stimulating food creates a desire for still stronger stimulants. Indigestible food throws the entire system out of order, and unnatural cravings and appetites are the result. “Touch not, taste not, handle not,” is a motto that should be carried further than the mere use of spirituous liquors. True temperance teaches us to abstain entirely from that which is injurious, and to use healthful and nutritious articles judiciously. RH September 23, 1884, par. 5

Great efforts are made in our country to put down intemperance; but it is found a hard matter to overpower and chain the full-grown lion. If half these efforts were directed toward enlightening parents as to their responsibility in forming the habits and characters of their children, a thousand-fold more good might result than from the present course. We bid all workers in the cause of temperance Godspeed; but we invite them to look deeper into the cause of the evil they war against, and go more thoroughly and consistently into reform. RH September 23, 1884, par. 6

The unnatural appetite for spirituous liquors is created at home, in many cases at the tables of the very ones who are most zealous to lead out in the temperance campaigns. The first steps in intemperance are usually taken in early youth. Stimulating food is given to the child, and excites unnatural cravings. These false appetites are pandered to as they develop. The taste becomes more and more perverted; stronger stimulants are craved and indulged in, until finally the slave of appetite throws aside all restraint. The evil commenced in early life, and could have been prevented by the parents. RH September 23, 1884, par. 7

Parents should so conduct themselves that their lives will be a daily lesson of forbearance and self-control to their household. The father and mother should unite in disciplining their children; each should bear a share of the responsibility. They should acknowledge themselves under solemn obligations to God to train up their offspring in such a way as to secure to them, as far as possible, good physical health and well-developed characters. Upon the mother, however, will come the heavier burden, especially in the first few years of her children's lives. It is her duty to control and direct the developing minds of her tender charge, as well as to watch over their health. The father should aid her with his sympathy and counsel, and share her burden whenever it is possible for him to do so. RH September 23, 1884, par. 8

Parents should not lightly regard the work of training their children, nor neglect it upon any account. They should employ much time in careful study of the laws that regulate our being. They should make it their first business to become intelligent in regard to the proper manner of dealing with their children, that they may secure to them sound minds in sound bodies. Especially should they spread their tables upon all occasions with unstimulating yet nourishing food. There are but few who carry out the correct principles of health reform in furnishing their tables. To a very great extent, they are controlled by custom instead of sound reason and the claims of God. Many who profess to be followers of Christ are sadly neglectful of home duties. They do not realize the importance of so molding the characters of their children that they will have the moral stamina to resist the many temptations that ensnare the feet of youth. RH September 23, 1884, par. 9

We urge that the principles of temperance be carried into all the details of home life; that the example of the parents should be a lesson of temperance; that self-denial and self-control should be taught to the children, and enforced upon them, so far as consistent, from babyhood. And first it is important that the little ones be taught that they eat to live, and not live to eat; that the appetite must be held in subjection to the will; and that the will must be governed by calm, intelligent reason. RH September 23, 1884, par. 10

There are few as yet who are aroused sufficiently to understand how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their characters, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. The appetite should ever be in subjection to the moral and intellectual organs. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body. All should understand in regard to their own physical frames, that with the psalmist they may be able to exclaim, “I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” RH September 23, 1884, par. 11