A Warfare against Intemperance
No young man or woman could be more sorely tempted than were Daniel and his companions. To these four Hebrew youth were apportioned wine and meat from the king’s table. But they chose to be temperate. They saw that perils were on every side, and that if they resisted temptation, they must make most decided efforts on their part, and trust the results with God. The youth who desire to stand as Daniel stood must exert their spiritual powers to the very utmost, cooperating with God, and trusting wholly in the strength that he has promised to all who come to him in humble obedience.
There is a constant warfare to be maintained between virtue and vice. The discordant elements of the one, and the pure principles of the other, are at work, striving for the mastery. Satan is approaching every soul with some form of temptation on the point of indulgence of appetite. Intemperance is fearfully prevalent. Look where we will, we behold this evil fondly cherished. In spite of the efforts made to control it, intemperance is on the increase. We can not be too earnest in seeking to hinder its progress, to raise the fallen, and to shield the weak from temptation. With our feeble human hands we can do but little, but we have an unfailing Helper. We must not forget that the arm of Christ can reach to the very depths of human woe and degradation. He can give us help to conquer even the terrible demon of intemperance.
Our Youth and Intemperance
There is no class of persons capable of accomplishing more in the warfare against intemperance than are God-fearing youth. In this age the young men in our cities should unite as an army, firmly and decidedly to set themselves against every form of selfish, health-destroying indulgence. What a power they might be for good! How many they might save from becoming demoralized in the halls and gardens fitted up with music and other attractions to allure the youth! Intemperance and profanity and licentiousness are sisters. Let every God-fearing youth gird on the armor and press to the front. Put your names on every temperance pledge presented. Thus you lend your influence in favor of signing the pledge, and induce others to sign it. Let no weak excuse deter you from taking this step. Work for the good of your own souls and for the good of others.
The young men and women who claim to believe the truth for this time can please Jesus only by uniting in an effort to meet the evils that have, with seductive influence, crept in upon society. They should do all they can to stay the tide of intemperance now spreading with demoralizing power over the land. Realizing that intemperance has open, avowed supporters, those who honor God take their position firmly against the tide of evil by which both men and women are being swiftly carried to perdition.
The followers of Jesus will never be ashamed to practise temperance in all things. Then why should any young man blush with shame to refuse the wine cup or the foaming mug of beer? A refusal to indulge perverted appetite is an honorable act. The sin is unmanly; to indulge in injurious habits of eating and drinking is weak, cowardly, debasing; but to deny perverted appetite is strong, brave, noble. In the Babylonian court, Daniel was surrounded by allurements to sin, but by the help of Christ he maintained his integrity. He who can not resist temptation, when every facility for overcoming has been placed within his reach, is not registered in the books of heaven as a man.
Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone. Have courage to do the right. A cowardly and silent reserve before evil associates, while you listen to their devices, makes you one with them.
Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.
Moral Courage Required
At all times and on all occasions it requires moral courage to adhere to the principles of strict temperance. We may expect that by following such a course we shall surprise those who do not totally abstain from all stimulants; but how are we to carry on the work of reform if we conform to the injurious habits and practises of those with whom we associate?
The holy intelligences of heaven watch the conflict going on between the tempter and the tempted. If the tempted turn from temptation, and in the strength of Jesus conquer, angels rejoice; for Satan has lost in the conflict. In our behalf, Christ, when weakened and suffering on account of hunger, fought the battle against appetite, and conquered Satan. In the name and strength of Jesus every youth may conquer the enemy today on the point of perverted appetite. My dear young friends, advance step by step, until all your habits shall be in harmony with the laws of life and health. He who overcame in the wilderness of temptation declares:
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.
Mrs. E. G. White