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    TEMPERANCE: HEALTHFUL LIVING

    This unity of health and holiness involves the principle of a regard for temperance and healthful living. We have seen that this was a specific study in the schools of the prophets. We have seen that temperance was one of the prominent characteristics of the youth and, indeed, the life of Daniel. That this was taught to him in the school which he attended, and was a material part of his education before his captivity, is evident from the fact that it was already a fixed principle in his life at that time.PBE 184.1

    When the royal captives reached Babylon, “the kind appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank.” The word here translated “meat” signifies “dainties;” and refers to the royal dainties, such as would be expected at the table of such a great king. It included flesh meats, of course; for these were largely used; but the word signifies all the royal dainties.PBE 184.2

    But Daniel refused it all, and also refused the wine, and chose “pulse to eat, and water to drink.” The word translated “pulse” is a word of wide meaning, just as is the word translated “meat,” referring to the king’s dainties. The word translated “pulse” comprehends the whole realm of vegetarian diet, just as the other word comprehends the whole field of the King’s dainties. What Daniel asked was that he, with his three companions, might have a vegetarian diet for food, and water to drink, instead of the richly-prepared and highly-seasoned dainties of the king’s table for food, and his wine for drink.PBE 185.1

    This action of those four boys was but the expression of a fixed principle, derived from knowledge of the effects which the king’s provision would have. For Daniel not only “purposed in his heart” that he would not partake of the king’s victuals and drink, but he did this because “he would not defile himself” with those things. He refused that food and drink because he knew their defiling effect upon those who used them.PBE 185.2

    For the effect of all such food and drink is certainly to defile. To illustrate: If your lamp chimney is all befogged, the light will not shine clearly through it: not half the light will shine through it then that will shine through it when it is well cleaned. Yet the light itself within the chimney may be the same all the time. The oil may be of the purest, the wick perfectly trimmed, there may be no lack whatever in the light itself; yet if the chimney be dusty, smoky, or in any way befogged, the light will not shine clearly. It simply can not shine clearly, because of the condition of the medium through which it must shine.PBE 185.3

    You know that when this is so, the thing to do is not to tinker the light nor to find fault with it, but to clean the chimney. And you know that when you do clean the chimney, the light is not only allowed to shine through, but it is actually enabled to shine as it can not possibly without any chimney. Thus it is literally true that, other things being equal, the strength and clearness of the light depend upon the medium through which it must shine.PBE 186.1

    Now, believers in Christ are the mediums through which the light of God, by His Holy Spirit, must shine to the world. That light is perfect. It is impossible that there should be any lack whatever in the perfect shining of that light itself. So far as there is any lack in perfect shining, it is altogether because of defect in the medium through which the light would shine. And anything whatever that benumbs the nerves or clogs the blood, befogs the system and bedims the light of God, as certainly as that befogged lamp chimney bedims the light of the lamp.PBE 186.2

    Every kind of stimulant and narcotic—wine, tobacco, beer, coffee, tea—does benumb the nerves; and all richly-cooked, highly-seasoned, and flesh-meat food does clog the blood; so that the effect of all or any of these is to befog the system, and bedim the light of God that would shine, by His Holy Spirit, through our lives in the darkness of the world.PBE 186.3

    Daniel lived in the darkest age of ancient Israel,—the age when it fell by the weight of its own iniquity. He also lived in the darkest age of ancient Babylon,—the age when Babylon also fell by the weight of its own iniquity. Daniel stood in the world as one of the professed people of God, through whom the light of God must shine in the darkness of the world of his day.PBE 187.1

    We live to-day in an age that corresponds to that of both Jerusalem and Babylon. To-day God calls His people out of Babylon, that they “be not partakers of her sins,” and “receive not of her plagues.” We stand as the professed people of God, through whom the light must shine in the darkness of the world. Yet hundreds, we fear there are thousands, of professed Christians do drink tea, coffee, or other such evil stuff, and do habitually eat flesh meats, dainties, and highly-seasoned food; and then wonder why their neighbors do not “see the light”! They ask the Lord for His Holy Spirit, and then wonder why they have “so little influence”!PBE 187.2

    The truth is, their neighbors can not see the light: it is so bedimmed by their befogged minds and lives that people simply can not see it clearly. The Lord gives His Holy Spirit, He has now poured out His Holy Spirit; the perfect light is given, and as for the light itself, it can not shine any clearer; but this holy light is bedimmed by the benumbed nerves and befogged senses of these users of tea, coffee, flesh meats, and dainties, so that even those who long to see it, and are looking earnestly for it can not see it. It can not shine to them.PBE 187.3

    Daniel would not so defile himself. He had respect to the claims of his profession of being one of God’s people. He therefore cleansed himself “from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,” that the light of God might shine undimmed and unhindered by the medium through which that light must shine in the darkness where he was. And all this happened for an example, and it is written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Please, then, do not any more dare to sing, “Dare to be a Daniel,” unless you do really dare to be a Daniel.PBE 188.1

    Nobody had any difficulty in seeing the light where Daniel and his companions were. It shone clearly. The moral integrity which they had acquired through the Word and Spirit of God shed its clear, distinct rays in every situation in which they were found. The light of this single principle of temperance and right living shone so clearly and so powerfully, in these boys, in contrast with the others, as to win the approval of the king’s high officer. Daniel 1:12-15.PBE 188.2

    All this is precisely what is wanted to-day in the darkness of the Babylon that surrounds us. Who of those to-day who profess to have the light of God for the world will defile themselves with the Babylonish meats and drinks of those around them? Who to-day, of all these, will not, in deed and in truth, “dare to be a Daniel”?PBE 188.3

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