Reaching the Highest Degree of Perfection. --"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
Only one lease of life is granted us; and the inquiry with everyone should be, How can I invest my life so that it will yield the greatest profit? How can I do most for the glory of God and the benefit of my fellow men? For life is valuable only as it is used for the attainment of these objects.
Our first duty toward God and our fellow beings is that of self-development. 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. Hence that time is spent to good account which is directed to the establishment and preservation of sound physical and mental health. We cannot afford to dwarf or cripple a single function of mind or body by overwork or by abuse of any part of the living machinery. As surely as we do this, we must suffer the consequences.
Intemperance, in the true sense of the word, is at the foundation of the larger share of the ills of life, and it annually destroys its tens of thousands. For intemperance is not limited to the use of intoxicating liquors; it has a broader meaning, and includes the hurtful indulgence of any appetite or passion. -- Signs of the Times, Nov. 17, 1890.
Excess in Eating, Drinking, Sleeping, and Seeing. --Excessive indulgence in eating, drinking, sleeping, or seeing, is sin. The harmonious healthy action of all the powers of body and mind results in happiness; and the more elevated and refined the powers, the more pure and unalloyed the happiness.-- Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 417.
Temperance in the Food Eaten. --The principles of temperance must be carried further than the mere use of spirituous liquors. The use of stimulating and indigestible food is often equally injurious to health, and in many cases sows the seeds of drunkenness. True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful, and to use judiciously that which is healthful. There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. The appetite should ever be in subjection to the moral and intellectual powers. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.-- Patriarchs and Prophets, page 562.
Eating Too Frequently or Too Much. --Those who eat and work intemperately and irrationally, talk and act irrationally. It is not necessary to drink alcoholic liquors in order to be intemperate. The sin of intemperate eating--eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unwholesome food-- destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, preventing rational, calm, healthy thinking and acting.-- Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, page 155.
Those who will not, after the light has come to them, eat and drink from principle, instead of being controlled by appetite, will not be tenacious in regard to being governed by principle in other things.-- Health Reformer, August, 1866.
Temperance in Dressing, Also. --God's people are to learn
the meaning of temperance in all things. They are to practice temperance in eating and drinking and dressing. All self-indulgence is to be cut away from their lives. Before they can really understand the meaning of true sanctification and of conformity to the will of Christ, they must, by co-operating with God, obtain the mastery over wrong habits and practices. -- Medical Ministry, page 275.
Temperance in Labor. --We should practice temperance in our labor. It is not our duty to place ourselves where we shall be overworked. Some may at times be placed where this is necessary, but it should be the exception, not the rule. We are to practice temperance in all things. If we honor the Lord by acting our part, He will on His part preserve our health. We should have a sensible control of all our organs. By practicing temperance in eating, in drinking, in dressing, in labor, and in all things, we can do for ourselves what no physician can do for us.--Manuscript 41, 1908.
Living on Borrowed Capital. --Intemperance in almost everything, exists on every hand. Those who make great exertions to accomplish just so much work in a given time, and continue to labor when their judgment tells them they should rest, are never gainers. They are living on borrowed capital. They are expending the vital force which they will need at a future time. And when the energy they have so recklessly used is demanded, they fail for want of it. The physical strength is gone, the mental powers fail. They realize that they have met with a loss, but do not know what it is. Their time of need has come, but their physical resources are exhausted.
Everyone who violates the laws of health must sometime be a sufferer to a greater or less degree. God has provided us with constitutional force, which will be needed at different periods of our lives. If we recklessly exhaust this force by continual overtaxation, we shall sometimes be losers. Our
usefulness will be lessened, if not our life itself destroyed.-- Fundamentals of Christian Education, pages 153, 154.
Evening Labor. --As a rule, the labor of the day should not be prolonged into the evening. . . . I have been shown that those who do this, often lose much more than they gain, for their energies are exhausted, and they labor on nervous excitement. They may not realize any immediate injury, but they are surely undermining their constitution.-- Counsels on Health, page 99.
Temperance in Study. --Intemperance in study is a species of intoxication, and those who indulge in it, like the drunkard, wander from safe paths, and stumble and fall in the darkness. The Lord would have every student bear in mind that the eye must be kept single to the glory of God. He is not to exhaust and waste his physical and mental powers in seeking to acquire all possible knowledge of the sciences, but is to preserve the freshness and vigor of all his powers to engage in the work which the Lord has appointed him in helping souls to find the path of righteousness.-- Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pages 405, 406.
Intemperance in Seeking Riches. --One of the most fruitful sources of shattered constitutions among men is a devotion to the getting of money, an inordinate desire for wealth. They narrow their lives to the single pursuit of money, sacrifice rest, sleep, and the comforts of life to this one object. Their naturally good constitutions are broken down, disease sets in as a consequence of the abuse of their physical powers, and death closes the scene of a perverted life. Not a dollar of his wealth can that man take with him who has obtained it at such a terrible price. Money, palaces, and rich apparel avail him nothing now; his lifework is worse than useless.-- Health Reformer, April, 1877.
To Guard Every Fiber of the Being. --Every organ, every
fiber of the being, is to be sacredly guarded from every harmful practice, if we would not be among the number that Christ represents as walking in the same dishonorable path as did the inhabitants of the world before the Flood. Those in this number will be appointed to destruction, because they have persisted in carrying lawful habits to extremes, and have created and indulged habits that have no foundation in nature, and that become a warring lust. . . .
The mass of the inhabitants of this world are destroying for themselves the true basis of the highest earthly interest. They are destroying their power of self-control, and making themselves incapable of appreciating eternal realities. Willingly ignorant of their own structure, they lead their children in the same path of self-indulgence, causing them to suffer the penalty of the transgression of nature's laws. . . .
Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number that the Lord by His mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the world. These are His peculiar people, zealous of good works.--Manuscript 86, 1897.
Temperance in All Things. --In order to preserve health, temperance in all things is necessary,--temperance in labor, temperance in eating and drinking. Our heavenly Father sent the light of health reform to guard against the evils resulting from a debased appetite, that those who love purity and holiness may know how to use with discretion the good things He has provided for them, and that by exercising temperance in daily life, they may be sanctified through the truth. -- Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, page 52.
The advocates of temperance should place their standard on a broader platform. They would then be laborers together with God. With every iota of their influence they should encourage the spread of reform principles.--Manuscript 86, 1897.
The Christian's Responsibility. --"Know ye not," Paul asks, "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." Man is God's workmanship, His masterpiece, created for a high and holy purpose; and on every part of the human tabernacle God desires to write His law. Every nerve and muscle, every mental and physical endowment, is to be kept pure.
God designs that the body shall be a temple for His Spirit. How solemn then is the responsibility resting on every soul. . . . How many there are, blessed with reason and intelligence, talents which should be used to the glory of God, who willfully degrade soul and body. Their lives are a continual round of excitement. Cricket and football matches and horse racing absorb the attention. The liquor curse, with its world of woe, is defiling the temple of God. . . . By the use of liquor and tobacco men are debasing the life given them for high and holy purposes. Their practices are represented by wood, hay, and stubble. Their God-given powers are perverted, their senses degraded, to minister to the desires of the carnal mind.
The drunkard sells himself for a cup of poison. Satan takes control of his reason, his affections, his conscience. Such a man is destroying the temple of God. Tea drinking helps to do this work. Yet how many there are who place destroying agencies on their tables.
No Right to Cripple One Organ of Mind or Body. --No man or woman has any right to form habits which lessen the healthful action of one organ of mind or body. He who perverts his powers is defiling the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Lord will not work a miracle to restore to soundness those who continue to use drugs which so degrade soul, mind, and body that sacred
things are not appreciated. Those who give themselves up to the use of tobacco and liquor do not appreciate their intellect. They do not realize the value of the faculties God has given them. They allow their powers to wither and decay.
God desires all who believe in Him to feel the necessity of improvement. Every intrusted faculty is to be improved. Not one is to be neglected. As God's husbandry and building, man is under His supervision in every sense of the word; and the better he becomes acquainted with his Maker, the more sacred will his life become in his estimation. . . .
God asks His children to live a pure, holy life. He has given His Son that we may reach this standard. He has made every provision necessary to enable man to live, not for animal satisfaction, like the beasts that perish, but for God and heaven. . . .
God Keeps an Account. --The physical penalty of disregarding the laws of nature will appear in the form of sickness, ruined constitutions, and even death itself. But a settlement is also to be made, by and by, with God. He keeps an account of every work, whether it is good or evil, and in the day of judgment every man will receive according to his work. Every transgression of the laws of physical life is a transgression of the laws of God; and punishment must and will follow every such transgression.
The human house, God's building, requires close, watchful guardianship. . . . The physical life is to be carefully educated, cultivated, and developed, that through men and women the divine nature may be revealed in its fullness. God expects men to use the intellect He has given them. He expects them to use every reasoning power for Him. They are to give the conscience the place of supremacy that has been assigned to it. The mental and physical powers, with the affections, are to be so cultivated that they can reach the highest efficiency.-- Review and Herald,Nov. 6, 1900.
When Guided by an Enlightened Conscience. --The apostle Paul writes: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 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."-- Signs of the Times, Oct. 2, 1907.
The apostle Paul here mentions the foot races, with which the Corinthians were familiar. The contestants in these races were subjected to the most severe discipline in order to fit them for the trial of their strength. Their diet was simple. Luxurious food and wine were prohibited. Their food was carefully selected. They studied to know what was best adapted to render them healthful and active, and to impart physical vigor and endurance, that they might put as heavy a tax as possible upon their strength. Every indulgence that would tend to weaken the physical powers was forbidden.-- Signs of the Times, Jan. 27, 1909.
If heathen men, who were not controlled by enlightened conscience, who had not the fear of God before them, would submit to deprivation and the discipline of training, denying themselves of every weakening indulgence merely for a wreath of perishable substance and the applause of the multitude, how much more should they who are running the Christian race in the hope of immortality and the approval of High Heaven be willing to deny themselves unhealthful stimulants and indulgences, which degrade the morals, enfeeble the intellect, and bring the higher powers into subjection to the animal appetites and passions.
Multitudes in the world are witnessing this game of life, the Christian warfare. And this is not all. The Monarch of the universe and the myriads of heavenly angels are spectators of this race; they are anxiously watching to see who will be successful overcomers, and win the crown of glory that fadeth not away. With intense interest God and heavenly angels
mark the self-denial, the self-sacrifice, and the agonizing efforts of those who engage to run the Christian race. The reward given to every man will be in accordance with the persevering energy and faithful earnestness with which he performs his part in the great contest.
In the games referred to, but one was sure of the prize. In the Christian race, says the apostle, "I so run not as uncertainly." We are not to be disappointed at the end of the race. To all those who fully comply with the conditions in God's word, and have a sense of their responsibility to preserve physical vigor and activity of body, that they may have well-balanced minds and healthy morals, the race is not uncertain. They all may gain the prize, and win and wear the crown of immortal glory that fadeth not away. . . .
Promises to the Overcomer. --The world should be no criterion for us. It is fashionable to indulge the appetite in luxurious food and unnatural stimulants, thus strengthening the animal propensities and crippling the growth and development of the moral faculties. There is no encouragement given to any of the sons or daughters of Adam that they may become victorious overcomers in the Christian warfare unless they decide to practice temperance in all things. If they do this, they will not fight as one that beateth the air.
If Christians will keep the body in subjection, and bring all their appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience, feeling it a duty that they owe to God and to their neighbors to obey the laws which govern health and life, they will have the blessing of physical and mental vigor. They will have moral power to engage in the warfare against Satan; and in the name of Him who conquered appetite in their behalf, they may be more than conquerors on their own account. This warfare is open to all who will engage in it. -- Signs of the Times, Oct. 2, 1907.
The Surrender to Satan. --Man, through yielding to Satan's temptations to indulge intemperance, brings the higher faculties in subjection to the animal appetites and passions, and when these gain the ascendancy, man, who was created a little lower than the angels, with faculties susceptible of the highest cultivation, surrenders to the control of Satan. And he gains easy access to those who are in bondage to appetite. Through intemperance, some sacrifice one half, and others two thirds, of their physical, mental, and moral powers, and become playthings for the enemy.
Those who would have clear minds to discern Satan's devices, must have their physical appetites under the control of reason and conscience. The moral and vigorous action of the higher powers of the mind are essential to the perfection of Christian character, and the strength or the weakness of the mind has very much to do with our usefulness in this world, and with our final salvation.
The ignorance that has prevailed in regard to God's law in our physical nature, is deplorable. Intemperance of any kind is a violation of the laws of our being. Imbecility is prevailing to a fearful extent. Sin is made attractive by the covering of light which Satan throws over it, and he is well pleased when he can hold the Christian world in their daily habits under the tyranny of custom, like the heathen, and allow appetite to govern them.
Strength of Body and Intellect Sacrificed. --If men and women of intelligence have their moral powers benumbed through intemperance of any kind, they are, in many of their habits, elevated but little above the heathen. Satan is constantly drawing the people from saving light, to custom and fashion, irrespective of physical, mental, and moral health. The great enemy knows that if appetite and passion predominate, the health of body and strength of intellect are sacrificed
upon the altar of self-gratification, and man is brought to speedy ruin. If enlightened intellect holds the reins, controlling the animal propensities and keeping them in subjection to the moral powers, Satan well knows that his power to overcome with his temptations is very small.
To Meet the Demands of Fashion. --In our day, people talk of the dark ages, and boast of progress. But with this progress wickedness and crime do not decrease. We deplore the absence of natural simplicity, and the increase of artificial display. Health, strength, beauty, and long life, which were common in the so-called "Dark Ages," are rare now. Nearly everything desirable is sacrificed to meet the demands of fashionable life.
A large share of the Christian world have no right to call themselves Christians. Their habits, their extravagance, and general treatment of their own bodies, are violations of physical law, and contrary to the Bible. They are working out for themselves, in their course of life, physical suffering, and mental and moral feebleness.
Through his devices, Satan, in many respects, has made the domestic life one of care and complicated burdens, in order to meet the demands of fashion. His purpose in doing this is to keep minds occupied so fully with the things of this life that they can give but little attention to their highest interest. Intemperance in eating and in dressing has so engrossed the minds of the Christian world that they do not take time to become intelligent in regard to the laws of their being, that they may obey them. To profess the name of Christ is of but little account if the life does not correspond with the will of God, revealed in His word. . . .
When Sanctification Is Impossible. --A large proportion of all the infirmities that afflict the human family, are the results of their own wrong habits, because of their willing ignorance, or of their disregard of the light which God has
given in relation to the laws of their being. It is not possible for us to glorify God while living in violation of the laws of life. The heart cannot possibly maintain consecration to God while the lustful appetite is indulged. A diseased body and disordered intellect, because of continual indulgence in hurtful lust, make sanctification of the body and spirit impossible.
The apostle understood the importance of the healthful conditions of the body for the successful perfection of Christian character. He says, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."-- Redemption; or the Temptation of Christ, pages 57-62.
Habits, Tastes, and Inclinations to Be Educated. --Nothing can be more offensive to God than to cripple or abuse the gifts lent us to be devoted to His service. It is written, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
In every important work, there are times of crisis, when there is great need that those connected with the work should have clear minds. There must be men who realize, as did the apostle Paul, the importance of practicing temperance in all things. There is work for us to do--stern, earnest work for our Master. All our habits, tastes, and inclinations must be educated in harmony with the laws of life and health. By this means we may secure the very best physical condition, and have mental clearness to discern between the evil and the good.
Intemperance of any kind benumbs the perceptive organs, and so weakens the brain nerve power that eternal things are not appreciated, but are placed on a level with common things. The higher powers of the mind, designed for noble purposes, are brought into slavery to the baser passions. If the physical habits are not right, the mental and moral powers cannot be strong; for great sympathy exists between the physical and
the moral. The apostle Peter understood this, and raised his voice of warning: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."
Higher Interests Imperiled. --Thus the word of God plainly warns us that unless we abstain from fleshly lusts, the physical nature will be brought into conflict with the spiritual. Lustful indulgence wars against health and peace. A warfare is instituted between the higher and the lower attributes of the man. The lower propensities, strong and active, oppress the soul. The highest interests of the being are imperiled by the indulgence of unsanctified appetite.-- Signs of the Times, Jan. 27, 1909.
A Lesson for Seventh-day Adventists. --The case of Aaron's sons has been placed upon record for the benefit of God's people, and should teach those especially who are preparing for the second coming of Christ, that the indulgence of a depraved appetite destroys the fine feelings of the soul, and so affects the reasoning powers which God has given to man, that spiritual and holy things lose their sacredness. Disobedience looks pleasing, instead of exceeding sinful.-- Signs of the Times, July 8, 1880.
To Overcome Every Hurtful Practice. --The principles of temperance are far-reaching; and there is danger that those who have received great light on this subject will fail to appreciate this light. God requires that His people living in these last days, overcome every hurtful practice, presenting their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Him, that they may win a seat at His right hand.
It is our duty to take ourselves in hand, and strive to bring our minds, our wills, and our tastes into conformity with the requirements of our Creator. The grace of God alone can enable us to do this: by its power our lives may be brought into harmony with right principles. We shall reap that which
we sow, and only those who bring themselves into subjection to the will of God are truly wise.--Letter 69, 1896.
Controlled by Enlightened Conscience. --If Christians would bring all their appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience, feeling it a duty they owe to God and to their neighbor to obey the laws which govern life and health, they would have the blessing of physical and mental vigor; they would have moral power to engage in the warfare against Satan; and in the name of Him who conquered in their behalf, they might be more than conquerors on their own account.-- Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, pages 39, 40.
Why Many Will Fall. --We want our sisters who are now injuring themselves by wrong habits to put them away and come to the front and be workers in reform. The reason why many of us will fall in the time of trouble is because of laxity in temperance and indulgence of appetite.
Moses preached a great deal on this subject, and the reason the people did not go through to the promised land was because of repeated indulgence of appetite. Nine tenths of the wickedness among the children of today is caused by intemperance in eating and drinking. Adam and Eve lost Eden through the indulgence of appetite, and we can only regain it by the denial of the same.-- Review and Herald, Oct. 21, 1884.
So Run That Ye May Obtain. --There are precious victories to gain; and the victors in this contest against appetite and every worldly lust will receive a crown of life that fadeth not away, a blessed home in that city whose gates are of pearl and whose foundations are of precious stones. Is not this prize worth striving for? Is it not worth every effort that we can make? Then let us so run that we may obtain.-- Signs of the Times, Sept. 1, 1887.
We can have no right understanding of the subject of temperance until we consider it from a Bible standpoint. And nowhere shall we find a more comprehensive and forcible illustration of true temperance and its attendant blessings than is afforded by the history of the prophet Daniel and his associates in the court of Babylon.-- Signs of the Times, Dec. 6, 1910.
When the people of Israel, their king, nobles, and priests, were carried into captivity, four of their number were selected to serve in the court of the king of Babylon. One of these was Daniel, who early gave promise of the remarkable ability developed in later years. These youth were all of princely birth, and are described as "children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them." Perceiving the superior talents of these youthful captives, King Nebuchadnezzar determined to prepare them to fill important positions in His kingdom. That they might be fully qualified for their life at court, according to Oriental custom, they were to be taught the language of the Chaldeans, and to be subjected for three years to a thorough course of physical and intellectual discipline.
The youth in this school of training were not only to be admitted to the royal palace, but it was provided that they should eat of the meat and drink of the wine which came from the king's table. In all this the king considered that he was not only bestowing great honor upon them, but securing for them the best physical and mental development that could be attained.
Meeting the Test. --Among the viands placed before the king were swine's flesh and other meats which were declared unclean by the law of Moses, and which the Hebrews had been expressly forbidden to eat. There Daniel was brought
to a severe test. Should he adhere to the teachings of his fathers concerning meats and drinks, and offend the king, and probably lose not only his position but his life? or should he disregard the commandment of the Lord, and retain the favor of the king, thus securing great intellectual advantages and the most flattering worldly prospects?
Daniel did not long hesitate. He decided to stand firm in his integrity, let the result be what it might. He "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank."
Not Narrow or Bigoted. --There are many among professed Christians today who would decide that Daniel was too particular, and would pronounce him narrow and bigoted. They consider the matter of eating and drinking as of too little consequence to require such a decided stand,--one involving the probable sacrifice of every earthly advantage. But those who reason thus will find in the day of judgment that they turned from God's express requirements, and set up their own opinion as a standard of right and wrong. They will find that what seemed to them unimportant was not so regarded of God. His requirements should be sacredly obeyed. Those who accept and obey one of His precepts because it is convenient to do so, while they reject another because its observance would require a sacrifice, lower the standard of right, and by their example lead others to lightly regard the holy law of God. "Thus saith the Lord" is to be our rule in all things.
A Faultless Character. --Daniel was subjected to the severest temptations that can assail the youth of today; yet he was true to the religious instruction received in early life. He was surrounded with influences calculated to subvert those who would vacillate between principle and inclination; yet the word of God presents him as a faultless character. Daniel dared not trust to his own moral power. Prayer was to him a necessity. He made God his strength, and the fear of God
was continually before him in all the transactions of his life.
Daniel possessed the grace of genuine meekness. He was true, firm, and noble. He sought to live in peace with all, while he was unbending as the lofty cedar wherever principle was involved. In everything that did not come in collision with his allegiance to God, he was respectful and obedient to those who had authority over him; but he had so high a sense of the claims of God that the requirements of earthly rulers were held subordinate. He would not be induced by any selfish consideration to swerve from his duty.
The character of Daniel is presented to the world as a striking example of what God's grace can make of men fallen by nature and corrupted by sin. The record of his noble, self-denying life is an encouragement to our common humanity. From it we may gather strength to nobly resist temptation, and firmly, and in the grace of meekness, stand for the right under the severest trial.
God's Approval Dearer Than Life. --Daniel might have found a plausible excuse to depart from his strictly temperate habits; but the approval of God was dearer to him than the favor of the most powerful earthly potentate,--dearer even than life itself. Having by his courteous conduct obtained favor with Melzar, the officer in charge of the Hebrew youth, Daniel made a request that they might not eat of the king's meat, or drink of his wine. Melzar feared that should he comply with this request, he might incur the displeasure of the king, and thus endanger his own life. Like many at the present day, he thought that an abstemious diet would render these youth pale and sickly in appearance, and deficient in muscular strength, while the luxurious food from the king's table would make them ruddy and beautiful, and would promote physical and mental activity.
Daniel requested that the matter be decided by a ten days' trial,--the Hebrew youth during this brief period being
permitted to eat of simple foods, while their companions partook of the king's dainties. The request was finally granted, and then Daniel felt assured that he had gained his case. Although but a youth, he had seen the injurious effects of wine and luxurious living upon physical and mental health.
God Vindicates His Servants. --At the end of the ten days the result was found to be quite the opposite of Melzar's expectations. Not only in personal appearance, but in physical activity and mental vigor, those who had been temperate in their habits exhibited a marked superiority over their companions who had indulged appetite. As a result of this trial, Daniel and his associates were permitted to continue their simple diet during the whole course of their training for the duties of the kingdom.
The Lord regarded with approval the firmness and self-denial of these Hebrew youth, and His blessing attended them. He "gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams." At the expiration of the three years of training, when their ability and acquirements were tested by the king, he "found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm."
Self-Control a Condition of Sanctification. --The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of what constitutes a sanctified character. It presents a lesson for all, and especially for the young. A strict compliance with the requirements of God is beneficial to the health of body and mind. In order to reach the highest standard of moral and intellectual attainments, it is necessary to seek wisdom and strength from God, and to observe strict temperance in all the habits of life. In the experience of Daniel and his companions we have an instance
of the triumph of principle over temptation to indulge the appetite. It shows us that through religious principle young men may triumph over the lusts of the flesh, and remain true to God's requirements, even though it cost them a great sacrifice.
What if Daniel and his companions had made a compromise with those heathen officers, and had yielded to the pressure of the occasion, by eating and drinking as was customary with the Babylonians? That single instance of departure from principle would have weakened their sense of right and their abhorrence of wrong. Indulgence of appetite would have involved the sacrifice of physical vigor, clearness of intellect, and spiritual power. One wrong step would probably have led to others, until, their connection with Heaven being severed, they would have been swept away by temptation.
God has said, "Them that honor Me I will honor." While Daniel clung to his God with unwavering trust, the Spirit of prophetic power came upon him. While he was instructed of man in the duties of court life, he was taught of God to read the mysteries of future ages, and to present to coming generations, through figures and similitudes, the wonderful things that would come to pass in the last days. --The Sanctified Life, pages 15-19.
The Hebrew youth did not act presumptuously, but in firm reliance upon God. They did not choose to be singular, but they would be so rather than dishonor God. --Prophets and Kings,page 483.
The Reward for Temperance for Us, Too. --The Hebrew captives were men of like passions with ourselves. Amid the seductive influences of the luxurious courts of Babylon, they stood firm. The youth of today are surrounded with allurements to self-indulgence. Especially in our large cities, every form of sensual gratification is made easy and inviting. Those
who, like Daniel, refuse to defile themselves, will reap the reward of temperate habits. With their greater physical stamina and increased power of endurance, they have a bank of deposit upon which to draw in case of emergency.
Right physical habits promote mental superiority. Intellectual power, physical stamina, and length of life depend upon immutable laws. Nature's God will not interfere to preserve men from the consequences of violating nature's requirements. He who strives for the mastery must be temperate in all things. Daniel's clearness of mind and firmness of purpose, his power in acquiring knowledge and in resisting temptation, were due in a great degree to the plainness of his diet, in connection with his life of prayer.
There is much sterling truth in the adage, "Every man is the architect of his own fortune." While parents are responsible for the stamp of character, as well as for the education and training, of their sons and daughters, it is still true that our position and usefulness in the world depend, to a great degree, upon our own course of action. Daniel and his companions enjoyed the benefits of correct training and education in early life, but these advantages alone would not have made them what they were. The time came when they must act for themselves,--when their future depended upon their own course. Then they decided to be true to the lessons given them in childhood. The fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom, was the foundation of their greatness.-- Youth's Instructor, July 9, 1903.
Tracing Intemperance to Their Own Tables. --Many mothers who deplore the intemperance that exists everywhere, do not look deep enough to see the cause. Too often it may be traced to the home table. Many a mother, even among those who profess to be Christians, is daily setting before her
household rich and highly seasoned food, which tempts the appetite and encourages overeating.-- Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, pages 75, 76.
After a time, through continued indulgence, the digestive organs become weakened, and the food taken does not satisfy the appetite. Unhealthy conditions are established, and there is a craving for more stimulating food. Tea, coffee, and flesh meats produce an immediate effect. Under the influence of these poisons the nervous system is excited, and, in some cases, for the time being, the intellect seems to be invigorated and the imagination to be more vivid. Because these stimulants produce for the time being such agreeable results, many conclude that they really need them and continue their use. . . .
The appetite is educated to crave something stronger which will have a tendency to keep up and increase the agreeable excitement, until indulgence becomes habit, and there is a continual craving for stronger stimulus, as tobacco, wines, and liquors.-- Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 487, 488.
Healthful Food, Simply Prepared. --Every mother should carefully guard her table, and allow nothing to come upon it which will have the slightest tendency to lay the foundation of intemperate habits. Food should be prepared in as simple a manner as possible, free from condiments and spices, and even from an undue amount of salt.
You who have at heart the good of your children, and who would see them come up with unperverted tastes and appetites, must perseveringly urge your way against popular sentiments and practices. If you would have them prepared to be useful on earth and to obtain the eternal reward in the kingdom of glory, you must teach them to obey the laws of God, both in nature and revelation, instead of following the customs of the world.
Painstaking effort, prayer and faith, when united with a correct example, will not be fruitless. Bring your children to
God in faith, and seek to impress their susceptible minds with a sense of their obligations to their heavenly Father. It will require lesson upon lesson, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.-- Review and Herald, Nov. 6, 1883.
Half the Mothers Deplorably Ignorant. --Not one half the mothers know how to cook or what to set before their children. They place before their little nervous children these rich substances that burn in the throat and all the way down to the tender coats of the stomach, making it like a burnt boot, so it does not recognize healthful food. The little ones will come to the table, and they cannot eat this, or they cannot eat that. They take control and get just what they want whether it is for their good or not.
I would recommend letting them go without for at least three days until they are hungry enough to enjoy good wholesome food. I would risk their starving. I have never placed on my table things which I did not allow my children to partake of. I would place before them just what I myself would eat. The children would eat of this food and never think of asking for things not on the table. We should not indulge the appetite of our children by placing before them these rich foods.-- Manuscript, 3, 1888.
Paving the Way for Intemperance. --The tables of our American people are generally prepared in a manner to make drunkards.-- Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 563.
Those who believe present truth should refuse to drink tea or coffee, for these excite a desire for stronger stimulant. They should refuse to eat flesh meat, for this, too, excites a desire for strong drink. Wholesome food, prepared with taste and skill, should be our diet now.-- Evangelism, page 265.
Meat Stimulates. --The immediate results of meat eating may be apparently to invigorate the system, but this is no
reason for its being considered the best article of diet. The moderate use of brandy will have the same effect for the time being, but when its exciting influence is gone there follows a sense of languor and debility. Those who depend upon simple and nutritious food, that is comparatively unstimulating in its effects, can endure more labor in the course of months and years than the meat eater or the liquor drinker. They who work in the open air will feel less injury from the use of flesh-meats than those of sedentary habits, for sun and air are great helps to digestion, and do much to counteract the effect of wrong habits of eating and drinking.
The Effects of Stimulants. --All stimulants hurry the human machinery too fast, and although, for the time, activity and vigor may seem to be increased, in proportion to the irritating influence employed, there must be a reaction; a debility will follow corresponding in degree to the unnatural excitement that has been produced.
When this debility is felt, something to stimulate and tone up the system is again used to give immediate relief from disagreeable languor. Nature is gradually educated to rely upon this oft-repeated remedy, until her powers are enfeebled by being often aroused to unnatural action. All persons should become acquainted with the laws of their being. It should be an important subject of study, how to live, how to regulate labor, and how to eat and drink in reference to health.
The more simply and naturally we live the better shall we be able to resist epidemic and disease. If our habits are good and the system is not weakened by unnatural action, Nature will furnish all the stimulus that we require. . . .
Appetite an Unsafe Guide. --The rule which some recommend, is to eat whenever there is a sense of hunger, and to eat until satisfied. This course will lead to disease and numerous evils. Appetite at the present day is not generally natural, therefore is not a correct index to the wants of the system.
It has been pampered and misdirected until it has become morbid and can no longer be a safe guide. Nature has been abused, her efforts crippled by wrong habits and indulgence in sinful luxuries, until taste and appetite are alike perverted.
It is unnatural to have a craving for flesh meats. It was not thus in the beginning. The appetite for meat has been made and educated by man. Our Creator has furnished us, in vegetables, grains, and fruits, all the elements of nutrition necessary to health and strength. Flesh meats composed no part of the food of Adam and Eve before their fall. If fruits, vegetables, and grains are not sufficient to meet the wants of man, then the Creator made a mistake in providing for Adam. . . .
That Israel Might Preserve Physical and Moral Strength. -- God did not withhold meat from the Hebrews in the wilderness simply to show His authority, but for their good, that they might preserve physical and moral strength. He knew that the use of animal food strengthens the animal passions and enfeebles the intellect. He knew that the gratification of the appetite of the Hebrews for flesh meats, would weaken their moral powers, and induce such an irritable disposition that the vast army would become insubordinate, that they would lose the high sense of their moral obligations, and refuse to be controlled by the wise laws of Jehovah. Violence and rebellion would exist among them, making it impossible for them to be a pure and happy people in the land of Canaan. God knew what was best for the children of Israel, therefore He deprived them in a great measure of flesh meats.
Satan tempted them to consider this unjust and cruel. He caused them to lust after forbidden things, because he saw that through the indulgence of perverted appetite they would become carnally minded and could be easily brought to do his will; the lower organs would be strengthened, while the intellectual and moral powers would be weakened.
Satan is no novice in the business of destroying souls. He well knows that if he can lead men and women into wrong habits of eating and drinking, he has gained, in a great degree, the control of their minds and baser passions. In the beginning man ate of the fruits of the earth, but sin brought into use the flesh of dead animals as food. This diet works directly against the spirit of true refinement and moral purity. The substance of that which is taken into the stomach, passes into the circulation, and is converted into flesh and blood. . . .
God requires that His people should be temperate in all things. The example of Christ, during that long fast in the wilderness, should teach His followers to repulse Satan when he comes under the guise of appetite. Then may they have influence to reform those who have been led astray by indulgence, and have lost moral power to overcome the weakness and sin that has taken possession of them. Thus may Christians secure health and happiness, in a pure, well-ordered life and a mind clear and untainted before God.-- Signs of the Times, Jan. 6, 1876.
Reform as the New Convert Sees It. --When the message comes to those who have not heard the truth for this time, they see that a great reformation must take place in their diet. They see that they must put away flesh food, because it creates an appetite for liquor, and fills the system with disease. By meat eating, the physical, mental, and moral powers are weakened. Man is built up from that which he eats. Animal passions bear sway as the result of meat eating, tobacco using, and liquor drinking.-- Counsels on Diet and Foods, pages 268, 269.
Intemperance in Variety of Dishes. --I go farther. Temperance should be practiced in the cooking of the food and in the variety of dishes provided, that the mother may be spared all the labor possible. A great variety of food is not essential for the sustenance of life; instead, it injures the digestive organs,
causing a war in the stomach. With the blessing of God, plain, simple food will sustain life, and be the best for the entire being.
Few realize that generally more food than necessary is placed in the stomach. But the extra food eaten is a tax on the stomach, and injures the whole human structure.-- Manuscript 50, 1893.
Overeating Is Intemperance. --Intemperance is seen in the quantity as well as in the quality of food eaten.-- Counsels on Health, page 576.
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 overeating uses up the vital forces, and deprives the brain of power to do its work.--Manuscript 155, 1899.
One who indulges freely in eating, who overloads the digestive organs until they are unable properly to care for the food eaten, is also an intemperate man, and he will find it impossible to discern clearly spiritual things.--Manuscript 41, 1908.
Our heavenly Father would have us use with discretion the good things He has provided for us.-- Signs of the Times, Jan. 27, 1909.
An Important Place in Our Salvation. --Those who are not health reformers treat themselves unfairly and unwisely. By the indulgence of appetite they do themselves fearful injury. Some may think that the question of diet is not important enough to be included in the question of religion. But such make a great mistake. God's word declares, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory
of God." The subject of temperance, in all its bearings, has an important place in the working out of our salvation.-- Evangelism, page 265.
If men and women perseveringly live in accordance with the laws of life and of health, they will realize the blessed results of an entire health reform.-- Signs of the Times, Jan. 6, 1876.
All Are Being Proved. --It is of great importance that individually we act well our part, and have an intelligent understanding of what we should eat and drink, and how we should live to preserve health. All are being proved to see whether they will accept the principles of health reform or follow a course of self-indulgence.-- Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 34.
The Only Safe Course. --The only safe course is to touch not, taste not, handle not, tea, coffee, wines, tobacco, opium, and alcoholic drinks. The necessity for the men of this generation to call to their aid the power of the will, strengthened by the grace of God, in order to withstand the temptations of Satan and resist the least indulgence of perverted appetite is twice as great as it was several generations ago. But the present generation have less power of self-control than had those who lived then.-- Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 488.
Let us never partake of a glass of alcoholic liquor. Let us never touch it.--Manuscript 38 1/2, 1905.
The Will to Touch Not, Taste Not, and Handle Not. --If all would be vigilant and faithful in guarding the little openings made by the moderate use of the so-called harmless wine and cider, the highway to drunkenness would be closed up. What is needed in every community is firm purpose, and a will to touch not, taste not, handle not; then the temperance
reformation would be strong, permanent, and thorough.-- Review and Herald, March 25, 1884.
Abstain strictly from all stimulating food or drink. You are God's property. You are not to abuse any organ of the body. You are to care wisely for your body, that there may be a perfect development of the whole man. Is it not an act of ingratitude on your part to do anything so to weaken your vital forces that you are unable properly to represent Him or to do the work He has for you to do?--Letter 236, 1903.
Temperance Principles Stem From God's Law. --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? ... 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 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 thou upon the wine when it is red," which "at the last biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder."-- Signs of the Times, Aug. 29, 1878.
Total Abstinence Our Platform. --When temperance is presented as a part of the gospel, many will see their need of reform. They will see the evil of intoxicating liquors and that total abstinence is the only platform on which God's people can conscientiously stand.-- Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 75.
A Living, Working Element in the Church. --In the family circle and in the church we should place Christian temperance on an elevated platform. It should be a living, working element, reforming habits, dispositions, and characters. Intemperance lies at the foundation of all the evil in our world.-- Manuscript 50, 1893.
Those We Cannot Take Into the Church. --God grant that
we may be wide awake to this awful evil. May He help us to labor with all our power to save men and women and youth from this effort of the enemy to ensnare them. We do not take into the church those who use liquor or tobacco. We cannot admit such ones. But we can try to help them to overcome. We can tell them that by giving up these harmful practices, they will make their families and themselves happier. Those whose hearts are filled with the Spirit of God will feel no need for stimulants.-- Review and Herald, June 15, 1905.
The True Convert Abandons Defiling Habits and Appetites. --Men and women have many habits that are antagonistic to the principles of the Bible. The victims of strong drink and tobacco are corrupted, body, soul, and spirit. Such ones should not be received into the church until they give evidence that they are truly converted, that they feel the need of the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The truth of God will purify the true believer. He who is thoroughly converted will abandon every defiling habit and appetite. By total abstinence he will overcome his desire for health-destroying indulgences.-- Evangelism, page 264.
Preserve Mental Vigor and Give Power of Endurance. -- There is a solemn responsibility upon all, especially upon ministers who teach the truth, to overcome on the point of appetite. The usefulness of ministers of Christ would be much greater if they had control of their appetites and passions; and their mental and moral powers would be stronger if they should combine physical labor with mental exertion. They could, with strictly temperate habits, with mental and physical labor combined, accomplish a far greater amount of labor and preserve clearness of mind. If they should pursue such a course their thoughts and words would flow more freely, their
religious exercises would be more energized, and the impressions made upon their hearers would be more marked.
Intemperance in eating, even of food of the right quality, will have a prostrating influence upon the system, and will blunt the keener and holier emotions. Strict temperance in eating and drinking is highly essential for the healthy preservation and vigorous exercise of all the functions of the body. Strictly temperate habits, combined with the exertion of the muscles as well as the exercise of the mind, will preserve both mental and physical vigor, and give power of endurance to those engaged in the ministry, to editors, and to all others whose habits are sedentary.--Health Reformer, August, 1875.
Follow Christ's Example. --Ministers of Christ, professing to be His representatives, should follow His example, and above all others should form habits of strictest temperance. They should keep the life and example of Christ before the people by their own lives of self-denial, self-sacrifice, and active benevolence. Christ overcame appetite in man's behalf, and in His stead they are to set others an example worthy of imitation. Those who do not feel the necessity of engaging in the work of overcoming upon the point of appetite will fail to secure precious victories which they might have gained and will become slaves to appetite and lust, which are filling the cup of iniquity of those who dwell upon the earth." -- Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 490.
Spiritual Vision Impaired. --I am instructed to say to my brethren in the ministry: By intemperance in eating you disqualify yourselves for seeing clearly the difference between sacred and common fire. And by this intemperance you also reveal your disregard for the warnings that the Lord has given you. His word to you is: "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle
a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of Mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow." Isaiah 50:10, 11.-- Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 258.
An Aid to Clear Thinking. --We have no right to overtax either the mental or the physical powers so that we are easily excited and led to speak words which dishonor God. The Lord desires us to be always calm and forbearing. Whatever others may do, we are to represent Christ doing as He would do under similar circumstances.
Every day one in a position of trust has decisions to make on which depend results of great importance. He has often to think rapidly, and this can be done successfully only by those who practice strict temperance. The mind strengthens under the correct treatment of the physical and the mental powers. If the strain is not too great, it acquires new vigor with every taxation.--Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 199.
Qualifications for Men Chosen for Responsible Positions. -- It means much to be true to God. He has claims upon all who are engaged in His service. He desires that mind and body be preserved in the best condition of health, every power and endowment under the divine control, and as vigorous as careful, strictly temperate habits can make them. We are under obligation to God to make an unreserved consecration of ourselves to Him, body and soul, with all the faculties appreciated as His entrusted gifts, to be employed in His service. All our energies and capabilities are to be constantly strengthened and improved during this probationary period. Only those who appreciate these principles, and have been trained to care for their bodies intelligently and in the fear of God, should be chosen to take responsibilities in this work. Those who have been long in the truth, yet who cannot distinguish between the pure principles of righteousness and the principles of evil, whose understanding in regard to justice, mercy, and the love
of God is clouded, should be relieved of responsibilities. Every church needs a clear, sharp testimony, giving the trumpet a certain sound.-- Signs of the Times, Oct. 2, 1907.
Health Workers to Be Temperate. --He [the physician] sees that those who are taking the nurses' course should be given a thorough education in the principles of health reform, that they should be taught to be strictly temperate in all things, because carelessness in regard to the laws of health is inexcusable in those set apart to teach others how to live.-- Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 74.
Educate, Educate, Educate. --Because the principles of health and temperance are so important, and are so often misunderstood, neglected, or unknown, we should educate ourselves, that we may not only bring our own lives into harmony with these principles, but teach them to others. The people need to be educated, line upon line, precept upon precept. The matter must be kept fresh before them. Nearly every family needs to be stirred up. The mind must be enlightened and the conscience aroused to the duty of practicing the principles of true reform.
Ministers especially should become intelligent on this question. As shepherds of the flock, they will be held accountable for willing ignorance and disregard of nature's laws. Let them find out what constitutes true hygienic reform, and teach its principles, both by precept, and by a quiet, consistent example. They should not ignore their duty in this matter, not be turned aside because some may call them extremists. At conventions, institutes, and other large and important meetings, instruction should be given upon health and temperance. Bring into service all the talent at command, and follow up the work with publications on the subject. "Educate, educate, educate," should be the watchword.--Undated Manuscript 9.