Temperance, by Ellen G. White (1949)

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TeTemperance was a favorite theme of Mrs. Ellen G. White, both in her writings and in public discourse. In many of her articles which appeared in denominational journals through the years, and in manuscripts and letters of counsel addressed to both workers and laity, she urged Seventh-day Adventists to practice temperance and to promote vigorously the temperance cause. In response to earnest requests that this wealth of material and instruction should be made available in a single volume, this handbook has been prepared by authorization of the Ellen G. White publications, to whom Mrs. White committed the custody of her books and manuscripts.

These selections have been drawn from the whole range of Mrs. White’s writings on this subject, including some now out of print, such as the following: Health, or How to Live (1865); Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene (1890); Special Testimonies (1892-1912); and Drunkenness and Crime (1907).

Both in the outline and in the content of subject matter, the compilers have earnestly sought to reflect the emphasis which the author placed on the various phases of temperance.

The effort to gather such selections as would set forth her full contribution on this subject, and the desire to make quite complete the various sections on the different phases of the temperance question have naturally resulted in some repetition of thought. In the endeavor to present the subject matter in an orderly way so as to be of greatest service to the reader, and at the same time to avoid undue repetition, rather brief selections have sometimes been made. However, in omitting the context, great care has been exercised to alter in no way the thought or the emphasis of the author. In each case full source credit is given to the book, periodical, pamphlet, or manuscript from which the excerpt is taken.

The readers will recognize that Ellen G. White, having died in 1915, did her writing in a period when some terminology was quite different from that commonly employed today, and when detailed descriptions of conditions might vary from that with which we are now familiar. For instance, reference is made to the saloon. While the liquor dispensary of today may differ from the saloon of fifty years ago, everyone knows that the same types of beverages are dispensed that were used at the time in which Mrs. White wrote, and that their effects upon the body, mind, and soul are the same. The relationship between the use of alcohol and automobile accidents was not stressed as it should be today, for the simple reason that automobiles were not then in common use. However, the reader will find set forth in statements concerning the use of alcohol and accidents a description of causes and effects which are fully applicable to present-day conditions. The power of alcohol to undermine the home, to wreck the health, to ruin the morals, and to destroy the soul is as potent now as it was a half century ago.

The reader will quickly discern the significance of temperance as it was presented to Mrs. White through the long years of her rich ministry. In this respect this volume makes an invaluable contribution to temperance literature. The temperance sermons found in the appendix typify Mrs. White’s intense burden to save humanity from the soul-destroying curse of intemperance.

That this volume may, under God’s blessings, accomplish a work of revitalizing the interests of Seventh-day Adventists in temperance and the temperance work and lead us to our heaven-assigned position in the forefront of temperance forces is the sincere wish of the Publishers.

The Trustees of the

Ellen G. White Publications.

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