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    May 1894

    “‘Touch Not, Taste Not, Handle Not’” The Home Missionary, 6, 5, pp. 105-108.


    In our study of how to have the best health, we come now to the consideration of good. This will be considered in three divisions:—HOMI May 1894, page 105.1

    1. What is not food at all, and is therefore never to be used.HOMI May 1894, page 105.2

    2. What is not good food, and is therefore not to be used if it can be avoided.HOMI May 1894, page 105.3

    3. What is the best food, and is therefore to be used freely.HOMI May 1894, page 105.4

    In the present lesson we are to studyHOMI May 1894, page 105.5


    One way of defining what is not food isHOMI May 1894, page 105.6

    “Whatever does not either build up tissue, or minister to animal heat, cannot be a food.”HOMI May 1894, page 105.7

    Another definition is:—HOMI May 1894, page 105.8

    “What gets strength out of a man without first putting it into him, is not food.”HOMI May 1894, page 105.9

    Yet another way of stating it is,—HOMI May 1894, page 105.10

    “Whatever affects the nerves only, is not food.HOMI May 1894, page 105.11

    The last two of these statements are also definitions of a stimulant. Stimulants affect only the nerves, and get strength out of a person without putting it into him, and therefore anything that stimulates is not food and is not to be used. So that in other words, our lesson at this time is as study of what are stimulants.HOMI May 1894, page 105.12

    I shall read both from the Testimonies and from a standard scientific authority. I do not cite the scientific authority to prove that the statements of the Testimonies are sound and trustworthy, nor to support the Testimonies, but that you may see how the Testimonies, while making no pretentions to scientific instruction as such, are thoroughly scientific and more. Making no pretentions to being scientific, they tell scientific truth in the name of the Lord, and as the truth of God witnessed by his sanctifying Spirit.HOMI May 1894, page 105.13

    That you may see this in the best way, I shall cite the scientific authority first, as the Testimonies make plainer the statements from this source. This authority is the “Encyclopedia Britannica,” the latest edition. And under the headings of “Drunkenness,” “Coffee,” “Tea,” and “Narcotics,” you can find for yourselves all that I shall quote.HOMI May 1894, page 105.14

    First I quote from the article on Drunkeness, as follows:—HOMI May 1894, page 106.1

    “From tea to hasheesh we have, through hops, alcohol, tobacco, and opium, a sort of graduated scale of intoxicants which stimulate in small doses and narcotize in larger. The physiological action of all these agents gradually shades into each other, all producing, or being capable of producing, consecutive paralysis of the various parts of the nervous system.”HOMI May 1894, page 106.2

    “Consecutive” means successive. That is to say, then, that the effect of all these things from tea to hasheesh is to produce successive paralysis of the various parts of the nervous system. This shows that the effect of all these things is upon the nerves only, that this effect is only to paralyze the nerves, and that each repetition of the drink or the dose, only increases the paralysis. This is the “consecutive paralysis” that is produced by the use of tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, opium, and hasheesh, And not only does each one of these increase the evil effect which proceeds from itself, but each one gradually leads on toward, and shades into, the one next above it in the intoxicating and paralyzing scale. I read on from the same place:—HOMI May 1894, page 106.3

    “Even the cup so often said to ‘cheer, but not inebriate’ [tea], cannot be regarded as altogether free from the last-named effect.”HOMI May 1894, page 106.4

    What is that last named effect? Why, “consecutive paralysis of the various parts of the nervous system.” Thus tea, although the lowest in the scale, is yet an intoxicant and a narcotic producing paralysis of the various parts of the nervous system. And that even this effect is not slight, as might be hastily concluded from its holding the lowest place in the scale, is made clear by the next sentence. So I read:—HOMI May 1894, page 106.5

    “Tea sots are well known to be affected with palpitation and irregularity of the heart, as well as with more or less sleeplessness, mental irritability, and muscular tremors, which in some culminate in paralysis; while positive intoxication has been known to be the result of excessive use of strong tea.”HOMI May 1894, page 106.6

    So must then for this mischievous stuff which is the lowest in the list. What then about coffee, which stands above it? Here is the word as to that. I read still from the Britannica, under the article “Coffee“:—HOMI May 1894, page 106.7

    “Coffee belongs to the medicinal or auxiliary class of food substances, being solely valuable for its stimulant effect upon the nervous and vascular system. It produces a feeling of buoyancy and exhilaration, comparable to a certain stage of alcoholic intoxication.”HOMI May 1894, page 106.8

    And under “Tea” I read further:—HOMI May 1894, page 106.9

    “Theine of tea is an alkaloid identical with the caffeine that is obtained from coffee.”HOMI May 1894, page 106.10

    Thus tea being akin to coffee, its effect shades into that of coffee; and coffee in its turn having solely a stimulant effect akin to that of alcohol, shades into that and leads on to an appetite for it.HOMI May 1894, page 106.11

    Nor is this all. Coffee is not only skin to alcohol in its effects, but it is akin to tobacco both in its nature and its effects. The same deadly poison that is in tobacco-smoke, is in coffee. It is not nicotine, it is if possible a more virulent poison than even that. It is not obtained directly from the tobacco itself, but from the smoke. It is obtained by distillation both from the coffee and from the tobacco-smoke. The simplest, most common way of extracting this poison from tobacco-smoke is to take a tumbler and put in it some little pieces of ice, then take a pipe of tobacco, draw the smoke from it and puff it into the tumbler on the ice. The warm smoke striking the ice is chilled and by being thus condensed there is extracted from it this poison, which adheres to the sides of the tumbler. Then drink from the tumbler, and you get the poison. Enough poison can be thus taken from a few puffs of tobacco smoke, to kill a man. In fact this is one of the means most frequently employed for drugging and robbing men who drink.HOMI May 1894, page 106.12

    At the Texas camp-meeting last summer I was stating this process and the effect of the poison. In the audience there was a stranger from New Orleans who, after the sermon, told me that he was a member of a jury in that city in the trial of three men for murder for killing a man in precisely this way. I asked him to tell it to the audience at the next meeting, and he did.HOMI May 1894, page 106.13

    He said that the three men planned to play a practical joke on another by first making him insensible and then painting and marking him in as many grotesque ways as possible, so that when he came to, everybody would be laughing at him, and he would not know why. And the way they would make him insensible was this puffing of tobacco-smoke into an iced tumber [sic.] and then have him take a drink of liquor from the tumbler. Accordingly they so doctored the glass, and got their victim to drink from it, when lo! it not only made him insensible, but it killed him. The three men were therefore prosecuted for murder. On the trial however, they frankly told just how it was done, and that they intended nothing more than to stupefy him and have some fun, and were as surprised and sorry as anybody could be that the man was killed. They were convicted of manslaughter and were sent to the penitentiary for two years. And further, the gentleman stated that in the expert testimony given in the trial, it was stated repeatedly that this same poison is in coffee.HOMI May 1894, page 106.14

    I had known for fifteen years of this poison, its effects, how it is obtained, and that it is in coffee; but I was glad to learn of this case of actual experience, and especially glad to get it thus directly from one who was a juror in the trial of the case.HOMI May 1894, page 107.1

    Well, then, how is this poison extracted from coffee? Bear in mind that it is obtained by distillation, and you will have no difficulty in understanding it as I describe it. Many a time when you have lifted the lid of the coffee-pot, you have seen the under side of it covered with large drops of water which would roll down and fall into the pot. And you know that those drops were formed by the steam rising from the boiling coffee against the under side of the lid, and the air outside being colder causes the steam to condense, and thus by distillation those drops of water are formed. Those drops are distilled water. But the steam having risen from boiling coffee, when it is thus condensed and these drops are distilled, this poison is extracted from the coffee. In fact, in hotels, restaurants, and in many families, the way that coffee is made nowadays is by suspending the ground coffee above the water in the boiler, so that the liquid is extracted wholly by steaming instead of by boiling. This process is adopted because coffee thus made is stronger, and is counted much better than when made the old way.HOMI May 1894, page 107.2

    Yes, it is much stronger, and to the taste of the coffee-drinker it is much “better” than when it is made by boiling, because there is so much more of this strong poison in it, and so it takes a much “better” hold on the taste. You know how utterly “flat, stale, and unprofitable,” any coffee would be counted that was made in an open vessel entirely. This is because the strength and chief “value” of the coffee would have all passed off in the unconfined steam. All this shows that the chiefest “value” of coffee is obtained largely by distillation which is precisely the process by which this deadly poison is obtained from tobacco-smoke and coffee.HOMI May 1894, page 107.3

    This poison is not only an intoxicant and a narcotic acting upon and paralyzing the nerves, but it retards digestion as well. Of course there is not as much of this poison in a given quantity of coffee, as there is in the same quantity of tobacco. But it is the same terrible poison, and that is enough for any one to know who would be free from its ruinous effects. This also further illustrates the principle that from tea to hasheesh, through alcohol, tobacco, and opium, there is a graduated scale of intoxicants (poisons), in their action upon the system, gradually shading into each other, and all producing, or being capable of producing, consecutive paralysis of the various parts of the nervous system.HOMI May 1894, page 107.4

    Now I read another passage from the “Britannica,” under “Narcotics,” which clearly describes the course of this consecutive paralysis:—HOMI May 1894, page 107.5

    “All these substances act on the nervous system, and although the physiological action of each is characteristic, there are many symptoms common to the whole group. Indeed, the course of action of all these shows three well-defined stages.HOMI May 1894, page 107.6

    “First, there is a period of apparent exaltation of function.”HOMI May 1894, page 107.7

    That is, the system is excited, stirred up, stimulated to increased action, without first receiving strength to perform the increased action. In other words strength is taken from the person without first putting it into him. In short the system is robbed of strength and life.HOMI May 1894, page 107.8

    “Second, this is followed by a diminution and perversion of functional activity.”HOMI May 1894, page 107.9

    That is, the nerves or organs that are thus excited to increased and unwonted action, are less able to perform their usual function after this excitement is over, than they were before, or than they would have been if they had not been so stimulated. And more than this the nerves and organs so excited are, by the stimulant, perverted from their natural condition and office and turned into the channel of disease and death. And in the very nature of the case this is followed by—HOMI May 1894, page 107.10

    “Third; a total loss of function, in which there is profound coma and paralysis.”HOMI May 1894, page 107.11

    And that means the utter ruin of those organs so far as any purpose for which God created them is concerned, and the complete enslavement of the individual to an ever increasing appetite and an ever strengthening habit.HOMI May 1894, page 107.12

    Now I turn to the Testimonies, and in just two or three short passages both the science and the philosophy of this whole subject is set forth so plainly and so simply that anybody can understand it all. Thus I read:—HOMI May 1894, page 107.13

    “To a certain extent, tea produces intoxication. It enters into the circulation and gradually impairs the energy of body and mind. It stimulates, excites, and quickens the motion of the living machinery, forcing it to unnatural action, and thus gives the tea-drinker the impression that it is doing him great service, im- parting to him strength. This is a mistake. Tea draws upon the strength of the nerves, and leaves them greatly weakened. When its influence is gone and the increased action caused by its use is abated, then what is the result?—Languor and debility corresponding to the artificial vivacity the tea imparted. When the system is already overtaxed and needs rest, the use of tea spurs up nature by stimulation to perform unwonted, unnatural action, and thereby lessens her power to perform, and her ability to endure; and her powers give out long before Heaven designed they should. Tea is poisonous to the system. Christians should let it alone.HOMI May 1894, page 107.14

    “The second effect of tea drinking is headache, wakefulness, palpitation of the heart, indigestion, trembling of the nerves, with many other evils.”HOMI May 1894, page 108.1

    Now as to coffee:—HOMI May 1894, page 108.2

    “The influence of coffee is in a degree the same as tea, but the effect upon the system is still worse. Its influence is exciting, and just in the degree that it elevates above par, it will exhaust and bring prostration below par. Tea and coffee drinkers carry the marks upon their faces. The skin becomes sallow, and assumes a lifeless appearance. The glow of health is not seen upon the countenance.”HOMI May 1894, page 108.3

    And now of both together I read:—HOMI May 1894, page 108.4

    “Tea and coffee do not nourish the system. The relief obtained from them is sudden, before the stomach has time to digest them. This shows that what the users of these stimulants call strength, is only received by exciting the nerves of the stomach, which convey the irritation to the brain, and this in turn is aroused to impart increased action to the heart, and short-lived energy to the entire system. All this is false strength, that we are the worse for having. They do not give a particle of natural strength.”—Bound Testimonies, Vol. II, pp. 64, 65.HOMI May 1894, page 108.5

    The nature of these things being to affect the nerves without strengthening them, to act upon the system without digestion, it is clearly evident that their course in the system is directly the reverse of the natural and that therefore they are not in any sense foods. The very reason and purpose of the digestive process is to prepare the material which the system must have to sustain it. According to this process the nerves are the last parts of the system that are reached or affected by that which is taken into the same, and then they are affected only to be strengthened and built up and prepared for further efficient work. On the other hand whatever affects the nerves first of all, whatever reaches the nerves without the digestive process, being the reverse of the order of nature, the only effect that it can have is to tear down and destroy.HOMI May 1894, page 108.6

    Now is this all. The order and course of nature being thus reversed, its functions are perverted, an unnatural appetite is created, which imperiously demands that it shall be supplied in spite of every other consideration, and thus a perverted, an unnatural appetite possesses and controls the man, instead of his being free to control himself. He is the slave of a perverted appetite instead of being his own free man.HOMI May 1894, page 108.7

    The principle here touched contains the sum and substance of all temperance. Temperance is literally self-control. That is the Bible idea expressed in the word “temperance.” That is the meaning of the Greek word that is translated “temperance.” So what temperance is, and all that it is, is simply self-control. You use the word self-control all the time, instead of the word temperance, and you will be enabled better to understand and to practice genuine temperance. For you can see readily enough that nobody can be temperate while using anything that tends to create an appetite for itself, and thus to take control. You can see plainly that no person can be temperate while using anything that affects the nerves, anything that gets strength out of him without first putting it into him, anything “from tea to hasheesh.” And as temperance—self-control—is one of the three grand divisions of Christian truth, it is easy to see that the use of any of these things is not in any sense in harmony with the Christian profession. The use of any of these things is contrary to both health and Christianity. And it is perfectly plain that it is the will of God that we shall prosper and be in health even as our souls prosper, and this will cannot be fulfilled in those who continue the use of any of these things. They are not foods at all. They are poisons only. Let them forever alone.HOMI May 1894, page 108.8

    A. T. JONES.

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