Wednesday, May 25, 2011

About Abstaining From Alcoholic Beverages

By Pastor Bruce Oyen
      The following article, taken from  Wm. Cathcart's Baptist Encyclopedia, is listed under the subject Temperance in that book, which was written in the 1800's. Though it is an old article, it has a good message for today. It is certainly not a popular message, but it is a good one. 
     The opening verse is from Proverbs 20:1. The reference is not given in the book.  The other quote is from Proverbs 23:31. Both verses are in black print.
      The Encyclopedia says the following:
      "TEMPERANCE.  'Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.'  This divine testimony is abundantly illustrated in daily life. No habit is so deceptive as that of using alcoholic beverages. Slowly but certainly it rivets its fetters upon its victim, who too frequently only realizes its  power when the attempt is made to break it. With many the struggle is unsuccessful. He only is the victor who trusts not in his own strength but daily seeks divine help.
      "Careful investigation has proved that the use of alcoholic stimulants is not needful to the enjoyment of the highest health; that it does not secure greater strength for either bodily or mental effort, and that it tends to shorten life. Surely he acts wisely who follows the divine command, 'Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright; at the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.'
     "Intemperance brings disgrace, privation, and poverty upon the drunkard and his family, and injures society by the increased burdens imposed by the crime and pauperism resulting from it.
     "Intemperance deadens the conscience, hardens the heart, and leads men to dishonor God. It is Satan's most successful weapon against the church and the truth, and for the destruction of immortal souls.
     "Among the obstacles to the temperance reform needing thoughtful consideration by Christians, are, First, The manufacture of domestic wines, not for sale, but for home use. These are claimed to be unintoxicating, and consequently harmless.
     "Analysis, however, has shown that they contain from 4 to 12 percent, or more, of alcohol, and therefore tend to create the appetite for stronger drink.
     "Second. The medical use without the special advice of a conscientious physician, of alcoholic liquors.
     "Ezra M. Hunt, M. D., in a very able paper read before the International Medical Congress, held in connection with the Centennial Exhibition, at Philadelphia, says, ' We cannot conceal from ourselves as physicians that thousands with sincerity indulge in the use of alcoholic stimuli because they entertain the idea that health requires it. Some physician had advised a little wine or brandy or ale for a special ailment, and the patient continues the prescription, or renews it repeatedly, because ' his constitution requires it.' We have been saddened to find those pledged to total abstinence thus using the beverage, and really deceiving themselves.  So exceptional is the need of alcoholic liquors in any chronic ailment, that no one who  claims to be using them as medicines should forget to consult his physician very frequently about the necessity of their continuance. If such were the rule, and if physicians were truly conscientious, thousands who now use them medicinally would cease to touch them.'
    "The position of the Baptist denomination on the temperance reform is indicated by the repeated action of leading Associations declaring, in emphatic terms, their approval of total abstinence. No Baptist church in the Northern States would receive or retain in its membership anyone engaged in the manufacture or sale of these beverages, neither would it accept as a member the house owner who rented his property for such purposes.
     "Let Christians live in the practice of total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors, discountenancing their use on wedding or other private or public occasions, and may God hasten the abolition of their manufacture and use throughout the whole earth!"

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