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    April 1904

    “How to Will, and to Do” The Medical Missionary, 13, 4, pp. 113, 114.

    ATJ

    ALONZO T. JONES

    TEMPERANCE is self-control. The word of God inculcates temperance “in all things.” To be temperate, a man must have self-control, he must be master of himself in all things. It follows from this that if a man will be master of himself in all things, he must have the full use of his own will. Paul simply expressed the experience of the human race when he said, “To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Romans 7:18. Every man is ready to, and does, will to do certain things, but he can not hold himself up to the height of his will. He resolves to do many things, but can not hold himself to his resolution. To will to do better is ever present with every man, but they do not do better. How to perform that which their own better judgment, and their honest convictions, tell them is the right thing to do, is what they do not find.MEDM April 1904, page 113.1

    The sole trouble about all this failure is that men have not the full use of their own will. Evil habits and intemperate practices destroy the strength of the will; they render impotent the power to perform that to which the mind readily assents as being right and proper. To convince men of what is right is ever the easiest task of the reformer; while the hardest task is always to bring them up to the place where they will do that which they know to be right. With temperance workers, it is not at all difficult to convince men that the use of alcohol is injurious, and that the only right thing to do is to let it entirely alone; but the great task is to let is entirely and forever alone. It is not at all difficult to convince men that the use of tobacco is only injurious and that continually, without one redeeming quality; but it is the hardest kind of a task to get them to quit it, even when they themselves confess that they ought to quit it. It is so also with the man or woman who uses tea, coffee, arsenic or morphine, or who is addicted to any wrong habit whatever.MEDM April 1904, page 113.2

    And yet all are ready to say, “Oh, I could quit it if I only would!” Yes, that is true, but they don’t. As one old gentleman expressed it, who had been an inveterate user of tobacco, and had at last really quit: “I always said I could quit it if I would, but I couldn’t would.” In that single expression there lies couched whole volumes of philosophy. Men can quit evil habits if they will, but they can’t will. Men can do right if they only will, but they can’t will. They can say “I will,” but they can’t do “I will.”MEDM April 1904, page 113.3

    This truth was excellently illustrated in an article in the sanitary columns of the New York Independent, a few years ago. In discussing the subject of “Stimulants and Narcotics as Related to Health,” the writer referred to those who have become enslaved by the use of these things, and then remarked:—MEDM April 1904, page 113.4

    “If ever we have seen sadness in this world, it is in the case of those who are conscious of this enthralling enchantment and yet feel unable to extricate themselves from the wiles of the adversary.... We do not believe anything has happened to us over and above the experience of most practitioners; yet we almost shudder to recall instance after instance where life has been burdened with this direful deceit, and whole families involved in this secret malady. The remedies are few unless the will itself is rallied to a high determination, and then for a time fortified and affiliated with another will stronger than itself.”MEDM April 1904, page 113.5

    This is true. And whether the remedies be many or few, this is the only one that is sure. But it is also true that with no human will can any will be fortified or affiliated in any adequate degree whatever. A stronger human will may be found, and by it the weak will may be fortified in a certain sense by personal encouragement and watchful influence; but this, only while that stronger will is present. But even then there can be no such affiliation of wills as that the weaker will shall be really vitalized from the energy of the stronger. That is an impossible relationship between human wills. Under such circumstances the most that can possibly be done, is that the weaker will shall be encouraged and guarded by the stronger until it shall of itself recover its wasted energies. But that is not enough, by far, and therefore such a remedy can never be certain in its results.MEDM April 1904, page 113.6

    Far more than that is required if the wasted energies of the will are ever to be restored. What is required is that the stronger will shall be one that can be ever present; and which, at the same time, can be so affiliated with the weakened will that the weaker shall be actually vitalized and renewed by the very energy itself imparted from the stronger. It is evident that such a remedy would prove effectual and permanent. And there is such an one offered willingly to every enthralled soul. It is found alone in the will of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a will with which by faith every weakened and enthralled will on earth may be fortified and affiliated; and that to such a degree that whereas it was a struggling, despairing victim, it may be transformed and translated into the glorious liberty of a conqueror: to such a degree that whereas the enthralled soul could only cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” he may freely and gladly exclaim, “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”MEDM April 1904, page 114.1

    Then, and so, God, in Christ, “worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Jesus is the great Physician, who will supply strength for every weakness, a remedy for every ill, freedom to every slave, and victory to every soul who will fight the good fight of faith. Through Jesus Christ alone every man may become master of himself: and so, alone, can he be “temperate in all things.”MEDM April 1904, page 114.2

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