Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

May 1, 1894

The Curse of the Liquor Traffic

By Mrs. E. G. White RH May 1, 1894

“Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work; that saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and it is ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? saith the Lord. But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.” RH May 1, 1894, par. 1

In every phase of the liquor-selling business, there is dishonesty and violence. The houses of liquor dealers are built with the wages of unrighteousness, and upheld by violence and oppression. The effect of the liquor traffic is clearly delineated in the words of the prophets: “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: and the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.... But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.” RH May 1, 1894, par. 2

Through indulgence in sin, the world is becoming as corrupt as it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, and as it was in the days that were before the flood. Jesus said that this condition of society would be a sign of his coming. He said: “As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” The very sins that brought upon Sodom the fire of destruction are practiced today, and are fast ripening the world for the day of final doom. Indulgence in intoxicating liquor and in licentious practices, is common in all our cities and villages, and the last great day is hastening upon the world. RH May 1, 1894, par. 3

There are many solemn warnings in the Scriptures against the use of intoxicating liquors. Solomon says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” “Who hath woe? who hath sorrows? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth on the top of a mast. They have stricken me, thou shalt say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” RH May 1, 1894, par. 4

Is not this description true to life? Does it not represent to us the experience of the poor, besotted drunkard, who is plunged in degradation and ruin because he has put the bottle to his lips, and who says, “I will seek it yet again”? The curse has come upon such a soul through indulgence in evil, and Satan has control of his being. “And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: the Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy 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 May 1, 1894, par. 5

With the awful results of indulgence in intoxicating drink before us, how is it that any man or woman who claims to believe in the word of God, can venture to touch, taste, or handle wine or strong drink? Such a practice is certainly out of harmony with their professed faith. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him. Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! And the harp and the viol, the tabret and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands. Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: but the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.” RH May 1, 1894, par. 6

“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion.... Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; that lie on beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, like David; that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.” RH May 1, 1894, par. 7

“Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness.” “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” These words of warning and command are pointed and decided, and let those in positions of public trust take heed, lest through wine and strong drink they forget the law and pervert judgment. Let rulers and judges be in a condition to fulfil the instruction of the Lord: “Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.” RH May 1, 1894, par. 8

The Lord God of heaven ruleth. He alone is above all authorities, over all kings and rulers. The Lord has given special directions in his word in reference to the use of wine and strong drink. He has forbidden their use, and enforced his prohibitions with strong warnings and threatenings. But his warning against the use of intoxicating beverages is not the result of the exercise of arbitrary authority. He has warned men, in order that they may escape from the evil that results from indulgence in wine and strong drink. Degradation, cruelty, wretchedness, and strife follow in the wake of drink. God has laid out the consequences of taking this course of evil, in order that there may not be a turning upside down of his instituted laws; that there may not be misery on all sides, through the increase of evil men who for the sake of gain shall selfishly heap to themselves riches, even through selling strong drink and putting the bottle to their neighbors’ lips. The liquor traffic should not be legalized in any of our towns or cities. RH May 1, 1894, par. 9

The Lord has given special directions in regard to what is to be done in the case of a vicious ox, which injures or causes the death of any person. He has said: “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. Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him. If the ox shall push a man-servant or a maid-servant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.” RH May 1, 1894, par. 10

Remember this instruction in regard to the vicious ox, and apply the principle involved to the man who deals out poisonous alcoholic drinks to his neighbors. Not every man who engages in the liquor business is ignorant of the numberless ways in which it results in degradation, misery, poverty, cruelty, and death. The liquor traffic is a terrible scourge to our land, and is sustained and legalized by those who profess to be Christians. In thus doing, the churches make themselves responsible for all the results of this death-dealing traffic. The liquor traffic has its root in hell itself, and it leads to perdition. These are solemn considerations. RH May 1, 1894, par. 11

The man who has formed the habit of drinking intoxicating liquor, is in a desperate situation. He cannot be reasoned with, or persuaded to deny himself the indulgence. His stomach and brain are diseased, his will power is weakened, and his appetite uncontrollable. The prince of the powers of darkness holds him in bondage that he has no power to break. For the aid of such victims the liquor traffic should be stopped. Do not the rulers of this land see that awful results are the fruit of this traffic? Daily the papers are filled with accounts that would move a heart of stone; and if the senses of our rulers were not perverted, they would see the necessity of doing away with this death-dealing traffic. May the Lord move upon the hearts of those in authority, until they shall take measures that will prohibit the drink traffic. RH May 1, 1894, par. 12

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