The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
October 31, 1878 A Lesson for the Times
Filed under: EG White Articles

Number Four.
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Man came from the hand of God complete in every faculty of mind and body; in perfect soundness, therefore in perfect health. It took more than two thousand years of indulgence of appetite and lustful passions to create such a state of things in the human organism as materially lessened his vital force. Through successive generations the tendency was more swiftly downward. Indulgence of appetite and passion combined, led to excess and violence; debauchery and abominations of every kind weakened the energies, and brought upon the race diseases of every type, until the vigor and glory of the first generations passed away, and, in the third generation from Adam, man began to show signs of decay. Successive generations after the flood degenerated more rapidly.

All this woe and suffering may be traced to the indulgence of appetite and passion. Luxurious living and the use of wine corrupt the blood, inflame the passions, and produce diseases of every kind. Parents leave maladies as a legacy to their children. As a rule, every intemperate man who rears children transmits his inclinations and evil tendencies to his offspring; and the evil does not end here; he gives to them disease from his own inflamed and corrupted blood. Licentiousness, disease, and imbecility are transmitted as an inheritance of woe from father to son, and from generation to generation, bringing anguish and suffering into the world, which is no less than a repetition of the fall of man.

The race is groaning under its weight of accumulated woe, because of the sins of former generations. And yet, with scarcely a thought or care, men and women of the present time indulge intemperance by surfeiting and drunkenness, and thereby leave, as a legacy for the next generation, disease, enfeebled intellects, and polluted morals.

The continual transgression of Nature’s laws is a continual transgression of the law of God. The present weight of suffering and anguish which we see everywhere, the present deformity, decrepitude, disease, and imbecility now flooding the world, make it, in comparison to what it might be, and what God designed it should be, a lazar-house; and the present generation are feeble in mental, moral, and physical power. All this misery, accumulated from generation to generation, exists because fallen man persists in breaking the law of God.

The effort made to create a taste for the disgusting, filthy poison, tobacco, leads to the desire for stronger stimulants, as liquor, which is taken, on one plea or another, for some imaginary infirmity, or to prevent some possible disease. Thus an unnatural appetite for hurtful and exciting stimulants is created, which strengthens with one’s years. The increase of intemperance in this generation is alarming; beverage-loving, liquor drinking men may be seen everywhere.

Intemperance of any kind is the worst sort of selfishness. Those who truly fear God and keep his commandments look upon these things in the light of reason and religion. How can any man or women keep the law of God, and at the same time indulge intemperate appetite, which benumbs the brain, weakens the intellect, and fills the body with disease? Intemperance inflames the passions, and gives loose rein to lust. Reason and conscience are then blinded by the lower passions.

It is not an easy matter to overcome established habits of appetite for narcotics and stimulants. In the name of Christ alone can this great victory be gained. He overcame in behalf of man in the wilderness of temptation, in the long fast of nearly six weeks. He sympathizes with the weakness of fallen man. His love for him was so great that he made an infinite sacrifice that he might reach him in his degradation, and through his divine power elevate him finally to his throne. But it rests with man whether Christ shall accomplish for him that which he has undertaken and is fully able to do.

It is a sacred duty that we owe to God to keep the spirit pure, as a temple for the Holy Ghost. If the heart and mind are devoted to the service of God; if we obey all his commandments, loving him with all the heart, might, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, we shall be found loyal and true to the requirements of Heaven.

The apostle says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” He also urges his brethren to earnest diligence and steady perseverance in their efforts for purity and holiness of life, in these words: “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we, an incorruptible.”–Mrs. E. G. White, in Health Reformer.

Jenny @ 12:08 am
October 24, 1878 A Lesson for the Times
Filed under: EG White Articles

We are often pained as we see the little moral power possessed by the professed followers of Christ. When tempted on the point of appetite, few will firmly stand the test. Many turn from light and knowledge, and sacrifice principle to indulge their taste. They eat when they have no need of eating, and at irregular periods, because they have no moral strength to resist their inclinations. As the result of this gratification of taste, the abused stomach rebels, suffering follows, and a weary taxation of the friends of the sufferer.

Many indulge appetite at the expense of health and the powers of intellect, so that they cannot appreciate the plan of salvation. What appreciation can such ones have of the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, and of the victory he gained upon the point of appetite? It is impossible for them to have exalted views of God, and to realize the claims of his law. Many of the professed followers of Christ are forgetful of the great sacrifice made by him on their account. The Majesty of Heaven, in order to bring salvation within their reach, was smitten, bruised, and afflicted. He became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. In the wilderness of temptation he resisted Satan, although the tempter was clothed with the livery of heaven. Christ, although brought to great physical suffering, refused to yield a single point, notwithstanding the most flattering inducements were presented to bribe and influence him to yield his integrity. All this honor, all these riches and glory, said the deceiver, will I give thee if thou wilt only acknowledge my claims.

Could we at this time have entered the heavenly courts, and seen with what intense interest the holy angels watched the conflict of their loved Commander with the fallen foe, we should see greater significance in this long fast of Christ than it is now possible for us, with our darkened senses, to comprehend. Christ, the Commander of Heaven, was emaciated by long fasting; and his human nature fainted when the conflict was ended. The Son of God appeared to be dying from hunger and the effects of his warfare with Satan. But angels lifted his fainting head, served him with nourishing food, and ministered unto him. Never will so severe a test be brought to bear upon man, as that which the Captain of his salvation endured before him.

There was great rejoicing and triumph in the heavenly courts that Satan, who had deceived even the heavenly angels, and drawn a third part of heaven into his rebellion, had been vanquished at every point by the Prince of Life. Hosannas rung through heaven that Christ had repulsed the fallen foe, and resisted every temptation upon the point of appetite, redeeming Adam’s disgraceful failure by his own triumph.

Christ has given us an example of temperance in his own life. Where so many professed Christians fail, and are led captive by appetite and inclination, the Saviour was firm. Oh! what salvation would there now be for the race if Christ had been as weak in moral power as man? No wonder that joy filled heaven as the fallen chief left the wilderness of temptation a conquered foe. Christ has power from his Father to give his divine grace and strength to man - making it possible for us, through his name, to overcome. There are but few professed followers of Christ who choose to engage with him in the work of resisting Satan’s temptations as he resisted and overcame.

Professed Christians who enjoy gatherings of gaiety, pleasure, and feasting, cannot appreciate the conflict of Christ in the wilderness. This example of their Lord in overcoming Satan is lost to them. This infinite victory which Christ achieved for them in the plan of salvation is meaningless. They have no special interest in the wonderful humiliation of our Saviour, and the anguish and sufferings he endured for sinful man, while Satan was pressing him with his manifold temptations. That scene of trial in the wilderness was the foundation of the plan of salvation, and gives to fallen man the key whereby he, in Christ’s name, may overcome.

Many professed Christians look upon this portion of the life of Christ as they would upon a common warfare between two kings, and as having no special bearing upon their own life and character. Therefore, the manner of warfare, and the wonderful victory gained, have but little interest for them. Their perceptive powers are blunted by Satan’s artifices, so that they cannot discern that he who afflicted Christ in the wilderness, determined to rob him of his integrity as the Son of the Infinite, is to be their own adversary to the end of time. Although he failed to overcome Christ, his power over man is not weakened. All are personally exposed to the temptations that Christ overcame; but strength is provided for them in the all-powerful name of the great Conqueror. And all must, for themselves, individually overcome. Many fall under the very same temptations wherewith Satan assailed Christ.

Although Christ gained a priceless victory in behalf of man in overcoming the temptations of Satan in the wilderness, this victory will not benefit man unless he also gains the victory on his own account.

Man now has the advantage over Adam in his warfare with Satan; for he has Adam’s experience in disobedience and his consequent fall to warn him to shun his example. Man also has Christ’s example in overcoming appetite and the manifold temptations of Satan, and in vanquishing the mighty foe upon every point, and coming off victor in every contest.

If man stumbles and falls under the temptations of Satan, he is without excuse; for he has the disobedience of Adam as a warning, and the life of the world’s Redeemer as an example of obedience and self-denial, and the promise of Christ that “to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

The great trial of Christ in the wilderness on the point of appetite was to leave man an example of self-denial. This long fast was to convict men of the sinfulness of many things in which professed Christians indulge. The victory which Christ gained in the wilderness was to show man the sinfulness of the very things in which he takes such pleasure. The salvation of man was in the balance, and to be decided by the trial of Christ in the wilderness. If Christ was a victor on the point of appetite, then there was a chance for man to overcome. If Satan gained the victory through his subtlety, man was bound by the power of appetite in chains of indulgence which he could not have moral power to break. Christ’s humanity alone could never have endured this test; but his divine power, combined with humanity, gained in behalf of man an infinite victory. Our Representative in this victory raised humanity in the scale of moral value with God.

Every man born into the world with reasoning powers has the opportunity, to a great extent, of making himself whatever he chooses to be. The blessings of this life and the blessings of the immortal life, are within his reach. He may build up a character of mental and moral worth, gaining new strength at every step in life. He may advance daily in knowledge and wisdom, conscious of new delights as he progresses, adding virtue to virtue, and grace to grace.

His faculties will improve by use, and the more wisdom he gains, the more he will be able to acquire, and his intelligence, knowledge, and virtue will thus continually increase and develop into greater strength and beauty.

On the other hand, he may allow his powers to rust out for want of use, or be perverted through evil habits, lack of self-control or of moral and religious stamina. His course then tends downward; he is disobedient to the laws of God, and to the laws of health. Appetite conquers him; inclination carries him away. It is easier for him to stand still and be dragged backward by the powers of evil, which are always active, than to struggle against them, and go forward. Dissipation, disease, and death follow. This is the history of many lives that might have been useful in the cause of God and humanity. 

We are free moral agents. We may obey the law of God, and secure eternal gain and lead others into the path of right, or we may transgress the law of God, and bring the penalty of disobedience upon us. There is glory above us that we may reach; and there is an abyss of wretchedness below, into which we may plunge. It requires less exertion to consent to go backward and downward than to urge our way forward through every obstacle. Thus many go down through inaction, who might be bright and shining lights. –Mrs. E. G. White, in Health Reformer.

Jenny @ 11:01 pm
October 17, 1878 A Lesson for the Times
Filed under: EG White Articles

Entire abstinence from every pernicious indulgence, and especially from tobacco and intoxicating drink, should be strenuously taught in our homes, both by precept and example. Upon no consideration should wine be placed upon our tables. Our children should grow up to consider it a deadly evil, leading to misery and crime.

The youth of today are the sure index to the future of society; and as we view them, what can we hope for that future? These young men are to take a part in the legislative councils of the nation; they will have a voice in enacting and executing its laws. How important, then, is it that the voice of warning should be raised against the indulgence of perverted appetite in those upon whom such solemn duties will rest. If parents would zealously teach total abstinence, and emphasize the lesson by their own unyielding example, many who are now on the brink of ruin might be saved.

What shall we say of the liquor-sellers, who imperil life, health, and property, with perfect indifference? They are not ignorant of the result of their trade, but they become callous of heart. They listen carelessly to the complaints of famishing, half-clad mothers and children. Satan has no better agents by which to prepare souls for perdition, and he uses them with the most telling effect. The liquor-seller deals out his fiery draughts to men who have lost all control of reason and appetite; he takes their hard-earned money and gives no equivalent for it; he is the worst kind of robber.

We find in the special precepts given by God to the Hebrews, this command: “If an ox goad a man or a woman that they died, 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.” “And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein, the owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them, and the dead beast shall be his.”

The principle embodied in this statute holds good in our time. The liquor-seller compares well with the man who turns a vicious ox loose upon his neighbors. The liquor seller is not ignorant of the effects of the fiery draught which he deals out unhesitatingly to husbands, fathers, youth, and aged men. He knows that it robs them of reason, and in many cases changes them to demons. The liquor-seller makes himself responsible for the violence that is committed under the influence of the liquor he sells. If the drunkard commits murder, under the effect of the maddening draught, the dealer who sold it to him, aware of the tendency of its effect, is in the sight of God equally responsible for the crime with him who did the deed.

The liquor-dealer digs a pit for his neighbor to fall into. He has seen the consequences of liquor-drinking too often to be ignorant of any one of their various phases. He knows that the hand of the man who drinks at his bar is likely to be raised against his own wife, his helpless children, or his aged father or mother. He knows, in very many instances, that the glass he hands to his customer will make him a raging madman, eager for quarrel, and thirsting for blood. He knows that he is taking bread from the mouths of hungry children, that the pence which fall into his till, and enable him to live extravagantly, have deprived the drunkard’s children of clothes, and robbed his family not only of the comforts, but of the very necessities of life. He is deaf to the appeals of weeping wives and mothers, whose hearts are breaking from cruelty and neglect.

Crimes of the darkest dye are daily reported in the newspapers as the direct result of drunkenness. The prisons are filled with criminals who have been brought there by the use of liquor; and the blood of murdered victims cries to Heaven for vengeance, as did the blood of Abel. The laws of the land punish the perpetrator of the deed, but the liquor-seller, who is also morally responsible for it, goes free; no man calls him a murderer; community looks calmly on at his unholy traffic, because justice is fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter. But God who declared that if a man owned a dangerous ox, and knew it to be so, yet let it loose upon his neighbors, if it caused the death of any man or woman, he should pay the penalty with his own life, - that just and terrible God will let fall the bolts of his wrath on the liquor-vender, who sells violence and death to his fellow-men, in the poisonous cup of the inebriate, who deals him out that which takes away his reason, and makes him a brute.

Oh, if men, formed in the image of God, would let reason hold sway in their minds; if they would remember that cursed is he who putteth the bottle to his neighbor’s lips, and that no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of heaven; if they would count the cost beforehand of creating an appetite which has no foundation in nature, - how much misery, crime, and disease might be spared the children of men!

Parents who freely use wine and liquor leave to their children the legacy of a feeble constitution, mental and moral debility, unnatural appetites, irritable temper, and an inclination to vice. Parents should feel that they are responsible to God, and to society, to bring into existence beings whose physical, mental, and moral characters shall enable them to make a proper use of life, be a blessing to the world, and an honor to their Creator. The indulgence of perverted appetite is the great cause of the deterioration of the human race. The child of the drunkard or the tobacco inebriate usually has the depraved appetites and passions of the father intensified, and at the same time inherits less of his self-control, and strength of mind. Men who are naturally calm and strong-minded not infrequently lose control of themselves while under the influence of liquor, and, though they may not commit crime, still have an inclination to do so, which might result in the act if a fair opportunity offered. Continued dissipation makes these propensities a second nature. Their children often receive this stamp of character before their birth; for the appetites of the parents are often intensified in the children. Thus unborn generations are afflicted by the use of tobacco and liquor. Intellectual decay is entailed upon them, and their moral perceptions are blunted. Thus the world is being filled with paupers, lunatics, thieves, and murderers. Disease, imbecility, and crime, with private and public corruptions of every sort, are making the world a second Sodom.

For the sake of that high charity and sympathy for the souls of tempted men for whom Christ died, Christians should come out from the popular customs and evils of the age, and be forever separated from them. But we find in the clergy themselves the most insurmountable obstacle to the promotion of temperance. Many are addicted to the use of the filthy weed, tobacco, which perverts the appetite, and creates the desire for some stronger stimulant. The indifference or disguised opposition of these men, many of whom occupy high and influential positions, is exceedingly damaging to the cause of temperance.

The safety of society, and the progress of reform, depend upon a clear definition and recognition of fundamental truth. The principles of God’s law must be kept before the people as everlasting and inexorable as the character of God himself. Law is defined as a rule of action. Civil law represents the supreme power of the State, regulating the actions of men, and restricting them from doing wrong under penalty of punishment. The good of society and the safety of man require that the law be respected. All enlightened law is founded on the law of Jehovah, given on Mount Sinai. To the inebriate, both the law of God and the law of man are meaningless. His senses are benumbed, he cannot comprehend the language of Sinai, and he tries to bring the law down to meet his debased standard rather than elevate himself to meet the exalted standard established by the rules of God’s government.

If Christian men would protect their homes from the horrors of vice, let them respect the laws of God. Let them be jealous for the sanctity of the ten precepts given for the government of mankind. Let them thus purify themselves, and decide to obey God at any cost to themselves. Then will they understand the mystery of godliness, and exclaim with David, “How love I thy law. It is my meditation all the day.” “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” - Mrs. E. G. White, in Health Reformer.

Jenny @ 10:57 pm
August 29, 1878 A Lesson for the Times
Filed under: EG White Articles

Number One.
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There is but one standard of right in the world, and that is God’s standard. We are all virtually under equal obligations to meet that high standard; and God holds us alike responsible to him. Society may set up artificial differences and regulations, but the fixed fact remains the same. Men require women to live up to a standard of purity almost equal with that of the angels, while they erect a standard of quite a different character for themselves.

Young men sit down to wine suppers, freely indulge their appetites for intoxicating drink and for tobacco, become reckless in their deportment, vulgar and turbulent in their conversation, and frequently seek low and debased society, excusing themselves under the plea of custom and the ways of the world. But should young ladies follow such a course of dissipation they would be utterly and forever disgraced in the eyes of the whole world.

But it is urged, “Oh, young men must sow their wild oats.” This is a terrible fallacy. It should be borne in mind that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Young men who have plunged into dissipation are already reaping what they have sown. They do not have to wait for mature years to come before they realize that they must pay the penalty for every violation of moral law. Every day we see instances of young men who are debilitated in body and mind, whose morals are debased, and who are prematurely dying because they have transgressed Nature’s laws, and fallen victims to the temptations which the fashions of the world hold out to them.

The law of Nature is the law of God; and the penalty of its transgression is visited alike upon men and women. It is not customary to hold fathers equally responsible with mothers for the training of their children. How many sermons are preached, and how much is written concerning the mother’s responsibility; while the father is apparently relieved from all the burden. We would appeal to fathers, in the hope of arousing them to a sense of their God given responsibility in regard to their children. We would say, Guard yourselves from cherishing any pernicious habit which, by its influence, might have a direct or indirect tendency to weaken the moral susceptibilities of your children.

While the mother may be doing her whole duty in educating her children to purity of life, the father too frequently, by his own example, may be opening the door of temptation to his children. His indulgence in wine and tobacco, and other sinful practices, lessen the hideousness of sin in their eyes. In keeping with this immoral course, is the talk that many fathers indulge in before their children, to the effect that the law of God is no longer binding upon man; that it was only for the government of the Israelites; or that it was abrogated at the death of Christ. Intelligent youth are not long in comprehending that where there is no law there is no transgression. The wholesome fear of breaking the commandments of God, grows weaker and weaker in their minds, until the moral perceptions which have been carefully trained by the mother, grow to be in harmony with the father’s sentiments.

If men strictly and conscientiously kept the law of God, there would be no drunkards, no tobacco inebriates, no distress, penury, and crime. Liquor saloons would be closed for want of patronage, and nine-tenths of all misery existing in the world would come to an end. Young men would walk forth with erect and noble forms, free and elastic step, clear eye, and healthy complexions.

When ministers, from their pulpits, make loyalty to the law of God disreputable; when they join with the world in making it unpopular; when these teachers of the people indulge in the social glass, and the defiling narcotic, tobacco, what depth of vice may not be expected from the youth of this generation? The newspaper records of the day, with their annals of crime, murders, and suicides, give the answer, and point out the terrible dangers of the time.

The signs exist today which prophecy predicted would characterize the state of society just prior to the second coming of Christ. You have heard much in regard to the authority and sanctity of the law of the ten commandments. God is the author of that law, which is the foundation of his government in heaven and on earth. All enlightened nations have based their laws upon this grand foundation of all law; yet the legislators and ministers, who are recognized as the leaders and teachers of the people, live in open violation of the principles inculcated in those holy statutes.

Many ministers preach Christ from the pulpit, and then do not hesitate to benumb their senses by wine tippling, or even indulging in brandy and other liquors. The Christian standard says, “Touch not; taste not; handle not;” and the laws of our physical being repeat the solemn injunction with emphasis. It is the duty of every Christian minister to lay this truth plainly before his people, teaching it both by precept and example.

The Bible nowhere teaches the use of intoxicating wine, either as a beverage or as a symbol of the blood of Christ. We appeal to the natural reason whether the blood of Christ is better represented by the pure juice of the grape in its natural state, or after it has been converted into a fermented and intoxicating wine. We maintain that the former is the only symbol properly representing the sacred blood of Christ, and a symbol established by himself; and we urge that the latter should never be placed upon the Lord’s table.

It has been declared by some that Christ favored the moderate use of fermented wine, in witness whereof they refer to his miracle of changing water into wine. But we protest that Christ never made intoxicating wine; such an act would have been contrary to all the teachings and example of his life. He was the Angel who led the children of Israel in the wilderness. He spoke the law from Sinai. He prohibited those who officiated in holy office from using wine; and his reasons for so doing are explicit; viz., that they may have clear judgment to distinguish between the common and the sacred, to do justice to the fatherless and widows, to teach his statutes and laws to Israel, and to accept no bribes. Those who abolish the law of God for the sake of getting rid of the Sabbath, do away with the most solemn restrictions against using liquor.

He who appeared to the wife of Manoah, and told her she should bear a son, and described his character for strength, and charged her to drink no wine or strong drink, for the child should be a Nazarite from his birth; He who appeared to Zacharias, and gave him directions regarding the unborn John, charging him that the child should drink no wine or strong drink, was not one who would make intoxicating wine and give it to the people upon a wedding occasion. The wine which Christ manufactured from water by a miracle of his power, was the pure juice of the grape. And the object of the Saviour, in this miracle, was to bring the perverted taste of the governor of the feast to a healthy condition, by inducing him to acknowledge that this wine was superior in quality to any he had before tasted.

There are those in our day, who, in order to excuse their own sins, follow the example of the Jews, and charge Christ with being a Sabbath-breaker and wine-bibber, notwithstanding he declared that he kept his Father’s commandments, and his whole life was an example of temperance and self-denial. Had he been a wine-bibber he could not have been a perfect offering, and the virtue of his blood would have been of no avail. But this charge, as well as the former, is best refuted by the character and teachings of Christ himself.

The Christian church is pronounced to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world. Can we apply this to the churches of today, many of whose members are using, not only the defiling narcotic, tobacco, but intoxicating wine, and spirituous liquor, and are placing the wine-cup to their neighbor’s lips? The church of Christ should be a school in which the inexperienced youth should be educated to control their appetites, from a moral and religious standpoint. They should there be taught how unsafe it is to tamper with temptation, to dally with sin; that there is no such thing as being a moderate and temperate drinker; that the path of the tippler is ever downward. They should be exhorted to “look not upon the wine when it is red,” which “at the last biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”–Mrs. E. G. White, in Health Reformer.

Jenny @ 9:32 pm