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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 155, 1899

    Temperance from a Christian Standpoint


    November 17, 1899 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 1BC 1101; Te 162, 196; CG 391. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” [1 Corinthians 3:16, 17.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 1

    In the tenth chapter of First Corinthians are pointed out the dangers that were to be met by God’s people in Paul’s day and that will have to be met by God’s people today. Here Paul specifies the reasons why the children of Israel did not enter the promised land when they might have done. “Moreover, brethren,” he says, “I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud”—the cloud of God’s protection, in which Christ was enshrouded—“and all passed through the sea.” [Verse 1.] What a wonderful miracle was this! The mighty hand of Christ rolled back the waters of the Red Sea, so that they stood up like a wall. Thus He made a dry passage through the sea, and Israel passed over dryshod. “And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” [Verses 2-4.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 2

    David recounts the acts of the Lord in behalf of the children of Israel. “He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.” [Psalm 105:39.] He “rained down manna upon them,” and fed them “with the bread of heaven.” [Psalm 78:24; 105:40.] “Man did eat angels’ food;” “the bread of the mighty.” [Psalm 78:25.] Margin. But this did not satisfy the children of Israel. “They tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, he smote the rock that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? Can he provide flesh for his people?” [Verses 18-20.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 3

    It was not because they were hungry that the Israelites murmured thus. In Egypt they had become accustomed to the use of flesh food, for while they had subsisted largely upon it. But God knew that meat-eating would produce disease and shorten life, and in leading them into the wilderness He purposed to educate them in correct habits, that they might be a pure, holy, healthy people. He withheld flesh meat from them, knowing that it is not man’s natural food. He provided for them the very best food, food that would have preserved them in health and lengthened their lives. But they were not pleased with this food. They wept and murmured and complained, saying that God had brought them out of Egypt to let them pine away and die in the wilderness.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 4

    The Lord heard their murmuring, and He was angry. “A fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel, because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation. ... He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven; and by his power he brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowl like as the sand of the sea; and he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitation. So they did eat and were filled; for he gave them their own desire. ... But while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.” [Verses 21, 26-31.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 5

    Paul writes, “With many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” [1 Corinthians 10:5.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 6

    “Now these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to men, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are above; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” [Verses 11-13.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 7

    Of the children of Israel, we read again in Deuteronomy, “They have corrupted themselves; their spot is not the spot of his children; they are a perverse and crooked generation. ... They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. ... And when the Lord saw it he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons and of his daughters. And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be; for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 8

    “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities; and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. ... They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. ... I said I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men: were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done this.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 9

    “For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up? For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their cluster are bitter. Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?” [Deuteronomy 32:5, 16, 17, 19-21, 24, 26-34.] “For thou numberest my steps; dost thou not watch over my sin? My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.” [Job 14:16, 17.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 10

    “To me belongeth vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. For the Lord shall judge his people, and shall repent himself for his people, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left. And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 11

    “See now, that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me; I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live forever. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. ... Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people; for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful to his land and to his people.” [Deuteronomy 32:35-41, 43.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 12

    “And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people. ... And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of the law. For it is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life; and through this thing (obedience) ye shall prolong your days in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.” [Verses 44, 46, 47.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 13

    God’s Word is plain and distinct upon the subject of the fall of ancient Israel. God promised the people health and prosperity if they would obey Him. His commandments are given to prolong life. He knew that the keeping of His law would preserve His people from the evil practices of the nations which had no knowledge of the true God, who were standing in the army and under the guidance of the great rebel against God.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 14

    Since his expulsion from heaven, Satan’s work has been to gather under his banner all those whom he can allure by his temptations. And by tempting people on the point of appetite he causes thousands upon thousands to fall. All love to be well, but all are not willing to act the part assigned them in order to be well. Those who would have good health must properly appreciate their bodies. They must understand this important subject in order to preserve themselves from suffering and disease. They must exercise their God-given capabilities by striving to overcome temptation. Man is to do his utmost to keep every organ of the body, every nerve, muscle, and sinew, in perfect health; for we read in God’s Word:14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 15

    “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two bodies, said he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. ... What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:15-17, 19, 20.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 16

    Shall we pass this divine instruction by without heeding it? Will those for whom Christ has died disregard the precautions He has declared it necessary for them to observe? Will they take little or no pains to preserve their health and prevent disease because they want to please and gratify self?14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 17

    God has shown the interest He has in the human family. He “so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] Shall we, then, show no interest in keeping our bodies free from disease, when by thoughtfulness, self-denial, and intelligence we could do this? Wherein lies our strength? In being connected with Christ. He declares, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:9-11.] “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.” [John 10:14, 15.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 18

    “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you, in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” [2 Corinthians 5:17-21.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 19

    In spite of all that has been done for them, the people of the world today stand before God as did the inhabitants of the Noachic world. “As it was in the days of Noah,” Christ declared, “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 Noah 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, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” [Luke 17:26-30.]14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 20

    God has sent His warning message to arouse men and women to their danger and peril. But thousands, yes, millions, are disregarding the Word which points out their danger. They eat food which is ruinous to health. They refuse to see that by eating improper food, and drinking intoxicating liquor, they are binding themselves in slavery. They violate the laws of life and health until appetite holds them in its chains. Afterward, when they try to break these chains, they are as those shorn of power. For years they have been destroying God’s temple, and now they have no power to resist Satan. Obedience would have saved them from the penalty of transgression, but they were not willing to obey.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 21

    No subject which is presented to the inhabitants of our cities should command so large an interest as that which concerns physical health. True temperance calls for total abstinence from strong drink. It calls also for reform in dietetic habits, in dressing, in sleeping. Those who indulge appetite are not pleased to hear that it rests with them to decide whether they will be invalids. They need to wake up and reason from cause to effect. They need to realize that they are disease-producers because of their ignorance upon the subject of proper eating, drinking, and dressing. They need to become diligent students of God’s Word, so that they will not bear false witness against Him and His providence.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 22

    Men and women use drugs of every description to counteract the results of their own misdoings. Then they charge their suffering to the providence of God, and finish the business by calling in a physician, who drugs to death the remaining forces of nature.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 23

    This is a matter of grave responsibility. God holds men and women accountable to keep themselves in the very best health, physically, mentally, and morally, that they may distinguish between the sacred and the common. The laws which God has established for the well-being of the physical structure are to be treated as divine. To every action done in violation of these laws a penalty is affixed. The transgressor is recorded as having broken the commandments of God.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 24

    Many seem to think that it is their privilege to treat their bodies as they please. Do such stop to consider that God requires them to obey His physical laws, and that for their violation of these laws they must answer at His bar?14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 25

    Intemperance embraces much. With some it consists of eating too largely of food which, if taken in proper quantities, would not be objectionable. All that is taken into the stomach above the actual need of the system becomes a dangerous element. It decays in the stomach, and causes dyspepsia. Continual over-eating uses up the vital forces, and deprives the brain of power to do its work.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 26

    Parents often make a mistake by giving their children too much food. Children treated in this way will grow up dyspeptics. Moderation in the use even of good food is essential. Parents, place before your children the amount they should eat. Leave it not with them to eat just as much as they may feel inclined. Two meals a day, and at the most three, are all that are required. Nothing whatever should be eaten between means. Parents, unless this point is guarded, your children will have dull perceptions. They may attend school, but they will be unable to learn as they ought, for the strength which should go to the brain is used in taking care of the extra food that burdens the stomach. Parents need to be educated to see that too much food given to children makes them feeble instead of robust.14LtMs, Ms 155, 1899, par. 27

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