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    June 1906

    “True Principles of Temperance” The Medical Missionary, 15, 6, pp. 163-167.


    BABYLON lost the kingdom of this world and so sank into everlasting ruin by intemperance.MEDM June 1906, page 163.1

    From Babylon the Medes and Persians took the kingdom of this world, upon the principles and practise of temperance. For of the Persians the history declares:—MEDM June 1906, page 163.2

    “The only food allowed either the children or the young men was bread, cresses, and water; for their design was to accustom them early to temperance and sobriety; besides, they considered that a plain, frugal diet, without any mixture of sauces or ragouts, would strengthen the body, and lay such a foundation of health as would enable them to undergo the hardships and fatigues of war to a good old age.”MEDM June 1906, page 163.3

    The Medes and Persians knew that Babylon was sinking by intemperance; and that it was the principles and practise of temperance that gave to themselves such superiority over the Babylonians that with good heart they could go against that mighty power of Babylon with the expectation of destroying it. For before they started, Cyrus of Persia, who was their commander said to them:—MEDM June 1906, page 163.4

    “Do you know the nature of the enemy you have to deal with? They are soft, effeminate, enervated men, already half conquered by their own luxury and voluptuousness: men not able to bear either hunger or thirst; equally incapable of supporting either the toil of war or the sight of danger: whereas you, that are inured from your infancy to a sober and hard way of living; to you, I say, hunger and thirst are but the sauce, and the only sauce, to your meals; fatigues are your pleasure, dangers your delight.”MEDM June 1906, page 164.1

    This character of temperance and the advantage that it gave, was so well known among the other nations that it was a material consideration in their councils. For when Crœsus, king of Lydia, was planning war against the Persians, he was cautioned by one of his counselors in the following words:—MEDM June 1906, page 164.2

    “O prince, why do you think of turning your arms against such a people as the Persians, who, being born in a wild, rugged country, are inured from their infancy to every kind of hardship and fatigue; who, being coarsely clad and coarsely fed, can content themselves with bread and water; who are absolute strangers to all the delicacies and conveniences of life; who, in a word, have nothing to lose if you conquer them, and everything to gain if they conquer you; and whom it would be very difficult to drive out of the country if they should once come to taste the sweets and advantages of it? So far, therefore, from thinking of beginning a war against them, it is my opinion we ought to thank the gods that they have never put it into the heads of the Persians to come and attack the Lydians.”MEDM June 1906, page 164.3

    And yet, knowing so well the true principles of temperance, and knowing the blessings and advantages of it—after all this, when the Persians had obtained the kingdom of the world, they went over the same course which the Babylonians had pursued to their ruin.MEDM June 1906, page 164.4

    And it was comparatively only a little while before, by reason “of their excessive magnificence and luxury,” they were so changed that “we can hardly believe they were the same people. This luxury and extravagance rose in time to such an excess as was little better than downright madness. The prince carried all his wives along with him to the wars; and with what an equipage such a troop must be attended, is easy to judge. And his generals and officers followed his example, each in proportion to his rank and ability. Their pretext for so doing was that the sight of what they held most dear and precious in the world would encourage them to fight with the greater resolution; but the true reason was the love of pleasure; by which they were overcome and enslaved before they came to engage with the enemy.”MEDM June 1906, page 164.5

    Such was the condition of the Persians when Alexander made his mighty expedition and so easily destroyed the Persian empire, and Grecia took the kingdom. And how was it that Grecia rose to the point where she could take the kingdom? “To go barefoot, to lie on the bare ground, to be satisfied with little meat and drink, to suffer heat and cold, to be exercised continually in hunting, wrestling, running on foot and horseback, to be inured to blows and wounds so as to vent neither complaint nor groan—these were the rudiments of education of the Spartan youth.” And this placed Sparta where she taught all Greece. In addition to this, there were the great national games of the Greeks, in the preparation and training for which “at first they had no other nourishment than dried figs, nuts, soft cheese, and a coarse, heavy sort of bread. They were absolutely forbidden the use of wine, and enjoined continence.” And though it be true that Alexander and the Grecians were far from practising such strict temperance as were the Persians when they took the kingdom, yet it is true that, as compared with the Persians at the time when Grecia took the kingdom, the Grecians could be counted as fairly temperate people. For although Alexander himself so shortly ended his career by intemperance, yet the Grecians through his successors were able to hold the kingdom of the world for one hundred and sixty years longer before “the transgressors came to the full” and another people must take the kingdom.MEDM June 1906, page 164.6

    The other people to whom now fell the kingdom of the world were the Romans. And still the great truth holds that it is upon the principles and practise of temperance that the kingdom is taken. For of the Romans at this time the history records that their principles and practise of temperance were as true as was that of the Persians when they took the kingdom. For, thirty-two years after the destruction of the last vestige of the Grecian kingdom, the Roman senate sent throughout the East on a tour of inspection a “famous embassy, consisting of three of the most eminent men of Rome.” And of the simple manners and temperate habits of these “most eminent men of Rome” the history speaks as follows:—MEDM June 1906, page 165.1

    “The first place which they came to in the discharge of their commission being Alexandria in Egypt, they were there received by the king in great state. But they made their entrance thither with so little that Scipio, who was then the greatest man in Rome, had no more than one friend, Panastius the philosopher, and five servants, in his retinue. And, although they were, during their stay there, entertained with all the varieties of the most sumptuous fare, yet they would touch nothing more of it than what was useful, in the most temperate manner, for the necessary support of nature, despising all the rest as that which corrupted the mind as well as the body, and bred vicious humors in both. Such was the moderation and temperance of the Romans at this time, and hereby it was that they at length advanced their state to so great a height.”MEDM June 1906, page 165.2

    And still the course of history holds on the same. When Rome in the practise of the splendid principles of temperance had reaped the benefit in the domination of the world, she too went over the same course which Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Grecia had pursued to deepest intemperance and utter ruin. And the history well shows that to the great height of world dominion to which their practise of the splendid principles of temperance had carried them, “would they have still continued could they still have retained the same virtues. But, when their prosperity, and the great wealth obtained thereby, became the occasion that they degenerated into luxury and corruption of manners, they drew decay and ruin as fast upon them as they had before, victory and prosperity, till at length they were undone by it. So that the poet said justly of them,—MEDM June 1906, page 165.3

    “Luxury came on more cruel than our arms,MEDM June 1906, page 165.4

    And did revenge the vanquished world with itsMEDM June 1906, page 165.5

    charms.”MEDM June 1906, page 165.6

    In the time of the very depths of Rome’s enormous intemperance came Christianity, preaching to all people, and planting firmly in the lives of all who believed it righteousness and temperance in view of judgment to come. Thus was Rome saved from ruin at that time.MEDM June 1906, page 165.7

    But there was an apostasy from Christianity by which there was made to prevail a false profession of Christianity. This false church became in turn a kingdom of this world by uniting in both politics and religion with the corrupt and vicious Roman State. And still the course of world-power held on the same. This church-dominion swiftly grew rich, magnificent, luxurious, and vicious. The failing empire that she proposed to save, she only the more speedily and irretrievably destroyed, and new peoples, wild but temperate, in the Ten Kingdoms, occupied the place of the successively overturned world-kingdom which was now to “be no more till He come whose right it is,” when it shall be given Him. For it is “in the days of these kings” that “the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and which shall not be left to other people; but it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”MEDM June 1906, page 165.8

    We are now in the “days” when the God of heaven shall set up that kingdom. The great nations of to-day—the nations that hold the power and dominion of the whole world—are the ones in whose “days” this kingdom is to be set up. And how stand these nations, even now, on this mightiest of all national questions? Are they practising the temperance which enabled the former nations to take and to hold the kingdom? or are they indulging the intemperance that has already lost the kingdom and sunk the nation in ruin?MEDM June 1906, page 165.9

    It is only the sober truth to say that these nations are even now indulging in intemperance in more things, and in far more fiery and vicious things, than were ever indulged in by the people of the great world-kingdoms of history. No Babylonian, no Median or Persian, no Grecian, and no Roman ever drank, or even had a chance to drink, a drop of whisky, nor of brandy, nor of rum, nor of gin, nor of champagne—every one of which is indulged in to a wickedly intemperate degree by the people of the greatest, the most powerful, the most influential of the nations that to-day hold the dominion of the world. This being so, how, then, is it possible for these to escape the ruin that overtook the world-empires of the past? Those ancient empires knew only one kind of intoxicant, that was wine—fermented grape juice. Yet with only that one intoxicant and its accompanying vices those powers sunk themselves in such intemperance as to end only in annihilating ruin. How much more then, and how much more speedily, must these great nations of to-day sink themselves in ruinous intemperance, in the indulgence of their many intoxicants, all of which are more fiery and fierce than was the single one that was known to the ancients!MEDM June 1906, page 166.1

    More than this: No Babylonian, no Median or Persian, no Grecian, and no Roman ever used tea, coffee, or tobacco, all of which are vicious stimulants and narcotics,—intoxicants,—and all of which are excessively indulged in by all the nations of to-day; to say nothing of the more deadly poisons, opium, morphine, cocaine, absinthe, and hashish. For “from tea to hashish, through hops, alcohol, tobacco, and opium, we have a graduated scale of intoxicants which stimulate in small doses and narcotize in larger. The physiological action of all these agents gradually shades into each other: all producing, or being capable of producing successive paralysis of the various parts of the nervous and vascular systems.”—Encyclopedia Britannica.MEDM June 1906, page 166.2

    Again it must be asked, How can the nations of to-day survive the intemperance which they are indulging in all the things of this double list of vicious intoxicants, when the ancient nations all so easily and so effectually destroyed themselves in the indulgence of only one—and that one not the most vicious nor the most destructive?MEDM June 1906, page 166.3

    And when by this intemperance these nations of to-day do sink themselves in this perfect certainty of destruction, where, then, shall be found the people to take and perpetuate the kingdom and the dominion, as there must be; for God “created not the earth in vain.” He formed it to be inhabited. There are now nowhere on earth any new, mild, and temperate people to rise up and sweep away these sinking world-powers and take the kingdom, as in all the great crises of the past. All the world is now actually possessed and ruled by these very nations of to-day. Where alone can there be found, and therefore where alone shall there be found the people to take the kingdom? Our study has already told us this—“In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom;” and “the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.”MEDM June 1906, page 166.4

    And since there are no new nations to rise up and take the kingdom as in all the crises of the past, it follows that those who shall take the kingdom must be called out and gathered out of the nations, tongues, kindreds, and peoples that now compose the kingdoms and the dominion of the world. But the kingdom and dominion of the world has never yet been taken and possessed, except upon the principles and practise of temperance. It follows, therefore, that to all the nations and peoples of the world there must now be given a call to temperance: and only to such temperance as shall take the kingdom.MEDM June 1906, page 166.5

    And since it is the kingdom of God that is now to be set up on the earth in the place of all these kingdoms of men, and since it is in this way that the saints of the Most High are now to take the kingdom, it follows that all these who shall be called to this temperance, must also be called to be saints of the Most High. It also follows that the temperance to which people from all nations must now be called must be such temperance as becomes not merely an earthly, human, and temporal kingdom, but such temperance as is fitting only to saints of the Most High and the divine and eternal kingdom. It must be such temperance in both morals and manners, such temperance of both flesh and spirit, as will perfect, in the fear of God, that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.MEDM June 1906, page 167.1

    Such a message, such a preaching, such a call, is in the nature of things just now due to all the nations and people of the world. Are not the conditions already such as to make it now high time that this message and this call be proclaimed with mighty power? And will not such a message be effectual to its full intent? Did not those ancient nations who in succession took the kingdom of the world, practise temperance? They did it to obtain a corruptible crown, while these are to be called to do it to obtain an incorruptible. Those did it voluntarily to obtain a corruptible crown, a fleeting glory and a perishable kingdom. Can not these be persuaded to do it to obtain an incorruptible crown, immortal glory, and an imperishable, because a divine and an eternal, kingdom?MEDM June 1906, page 167.2

    And just this is the great purpose of the existence of the Battle Creek Sanitarium and this sanitarium system, whether as found in this Sanitarium itself, or in the related institutions that now exist or the thousands of these that may, and that certainly should yet be. This is why we are all here. May the Lord arouse us to, baptize us in, and imbue us with, such a genuine and thorough espousal of these principles in their very spirit as shall cause us, whether here or elsewhere, ever to be both in principle and in practise, in flesh and spirit, so truly temperate that we shall be of those who, in the days of these kings, “shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.”MEDM June 1906, page 167.3

    A. T. JONES.

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