Monday, May 4, 2015

The Christian and his body, the temple of God.

God gives man no permission to violate the laws of his being. But 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 ascendency, 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. 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 is essential to the perfection of Christian character. – {HR March 1, 1878 Par. 1} 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. Those who allow appetite to govern them 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, 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. – {HR March 1, 1878 Par. 2} 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. Many are working out for themselves, through this violation of the laws of their being, physical suffering, and mental and moral feebleness. – {HR March 1, 1878 Par. 3} Through his devices, Satan has, in many respects, 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 so fully occupied with the things of this life that they can give but little attention to their highest interest. Intemperance in eating, and extravagance in dressing, have 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. – {HR March 1, 1878 Par. 4} If we would see the standard of virtue and godliness exalted, we, as Christians, have a work devolving upon us individually to control appetite, the indulgence of which counteracts the force of truth, and weakens moral power to resist and overcome temptation. As Christ’s followers, we should, in eating and drinking, act from principle. When we obey the injunction of the apostle, “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God,” thousands of dollars which are now sacrificed upon the altar of hurtful lust will flow into the Lord’s treasury. – {HR March 1, 1878 Par. 5} Many who are held by Satan under the power of slavish appetite, are the professed followers of Christ. They profess to worship God, while appetite is their god. Their unnatural desires for hurtful indulgences are not controlled by reason or judgment. Those who are slaves to tobacco will see their families suffering for the conveniences of life, and for necessary food; yet they have not the power of will to forego their tobacco. The clamors of appetite prevail over natural affection, and this brute passion controls them. The cause of Christianity, and even humanity, would not in any case be sustained, if dependent upon those in the habitual use of tobacco and liquor. If they had means to use in only one direction, the treasury of God would not be replenished, but they would have their tobacco and liquor. – {HR March 1, 1878 Par. 6} It is impossible for such men to realize the binding claims and holiness of the law of God; for the brain and nerves are deadened by the use of this narcotic. They cannot value the atonement, or appreciate the worth of immortal life. The indulgence of fleshly lusts wars against the soul. The apostle, in the most impressive language, addresses Christians, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” If the body is saturated with liquor and defiled by tobacco, it is not holy and acceptable to God. Satan knows that it cannot be, and for this reason he brings his temptations to bear upon the point of appetite, that he may bring us into bondage to this propensity, and thus work the ruin of thousands. – {HR March 1, 1878 Par. 7} The Jewish sacrifices were all examined with careful scrutiny to see if any blemish was upon them, or if they were tainted with disease; and the least defect or impurity was a sufficient reason for the priests to reject them. The offering must be sound and valuable. The apostle has in view the requirements of God upon the Jews in their offerings when he in the most earnest manner appeals to his brethren to present their bodies a living sacrifice. Not a diseased, decaying offering, but a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. – {HR March 1, 1878 Par. 8} Many come to the house of God in feebleness, and many come defiled by the indulgence of their own appetite. Those who have degraded themselves by wrong habits, when they assemble for the worship of God, give forth such emanations from their diseased bodies as to be disgusting to those around them. And how offensive must this be to a pure and holy God. – {HR March 1, 1878 Par. 9} 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 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.” He mentions the fruit of the Spirit, among which is temperance. “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.” – {HR March 1, 1878 Par. 10}

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