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    May 1904

    “Why Do Ye Such Things?” The Medical Missionary, 13, 5, pp. 129, 130.

    ATJ

    “WHEREFORE do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” (Isaiah 55:2). It is true that in the direct connection in which this scripture is used, the subject of bodily ailment is not the one under consideration; it being used as a figure in the great invitation to the gospel board, spread with the bounties of God’s grace. Nevertheless, the importance of the questions here asked is none the less in a material sense, but is the rather increased; because if the prophet of God, in inviting men to provisions of God’s house, could find a fit simile only in these things, it shows as nothing else could the immense importance of the things themselves.MEDM May 1904, page 129.1

    That this view is just, is proved by the fact that God gave to his people explicit directions as to what they might eat, and what they should not eat; and even in the gospel times gave by inspiration the express “wish” that his people might “prosper and be in health,” even as their souls should prosper. And there is nothing more certain than than that, the soul of such a one will prosper better than when the conditions are otherwise.MEDM May 1904, page 129.2

    We do not say that to eat and drink and breathe that which is good will make a person a Christian; but we do say that the person who does it can be a better Christian than he can if he does not do it. It is evident, on the mere statement of the case, that the person whose vital forces are all properly performing their regular functions, being properly supplied with the right materials—such a person is better and can be better in every way than he can otherwise.MEDM May 1904, page 129.3

    “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?” Bread is here used for food in general. Why, then, do people spend money for hashish, or opium, or tobacco, or alcohol, or beer, or coffee, or tea? None of these things is food. The tendency of them, one and all, is only to impair the vital functions. Some may think that we have gone too far in including tea and coffee in this list, along with beer, and alcohol, and tobacco, and opium, and hashish. But we have not gone too far; in that list is exactly the place where they belong. We shall give fuller proof of this in a later article, but we give here on authority on the subject, and the reader who is inclined to doubt the propriety of the above classification can think of it till we come to these articles in their order. In the “Encyclopedia Britannica,” in the article “Drunkenness,” we have this statement:—MEDM May 1904, page 129.4

    “From tea to hashish we have, through hops, alcohol, tobacco, and opium, a sort of graduated scale of intoxicants, which stimulate in small doses, and narcotize in larger.”MEDM May 1904, page 129.5

    These things, therefore, all being both stimulants and narcotics, can have, when habitually used, no effect upon the system but that which is injurious. We repeat: Their only effect is to impair the vital functions. And to do anything which impairs the vital functions is to strike at the life, for our word “vital” comes from Latin vita, which means life. And this will be readily enough agreed to in the matter of hashish, opium, and alcohol; and in fact it will be agreed to in the matter of the other things named—except by those who use them.MEDM May 1904, page 129.6

    Though a person uses a thing and likes it, even though he may have used it for years without any apparent injury to himself, that is no proof that it is not an injury to him.MEDM May 1904, page 130.1

    The person who is practicing an evil is not always the one who is best qualified to decide the question as to whether he is being injured or not. Many a person who uses whisky, yet who never was drunk, will say, “Whisky does not hurt me,” while everybody else knows that it does hurt him. Thousands of men who are addicted to its use, will say, “Tobacco does not hurt me,” while everybody but a tobacco user knows that it does hurt him; and that its only effect is to hurt the one who uses it.MEDM May 1904, page 130.2

    It is so with all the elements that are set down in the list above. We do not by any means intend it to be understood that all the things named in that list are equally injurious. Tea is not so injurious in its effects upon the system as is opium, or tobacco, or alcohol, but its effects are of the same kind, though less in degree. Tea is the lowest in the list, but the whole list, from tea to hashish, forms only “a graduated scale of intoxicants,” and “the physiological action of all these agents gradually shades into each other,” so that it is impossible to tell where the effect of any one in the list ceases and where that of the next higher begins.MEDM May 1904, page 130.3

    It matters not how poisonous, nor how injurious to the vital organs a thing may be, if it can be taken in any perceptible quantity at all without causing death, the repeated use of that thing will create an appetite that can be satisfied with nothing else, while every time the thing is taken, the appetite is increased, until at last, in the case of the most poisonous, the terrible habit will absorb the whole being and bring its victim to a horrible death. This is well known in cases of delirium tremens, of opium fiends, arsenic eaters, etc. The principle of this is shown in the following definition of “vitality,” by Baron Liebig:—MEDM May 1904, page 130.4

    “Vitality is the power which each organ possesses of constantly reproducing itself. For this it requires a supply of substances which contain the constituent elements of its own substance, and are capable of transformation. When the quantity of food is too great or is not capable of such transformation, or exerts any peculiar chemical action, the organ itself is subjected to a change.”MEDM May 1904, page 130.5

    The organ may at first raise the whole system in rebellion against that which is given it, as in the first chew of tobacco, or the first cigar, but if the wicked stuff be pressed upon it again and again, the organ is forced to undergo a change, it adapts itself to the persistent demands that are made upon it, and becomes perverted, so that that against which it at first utterly rebelled, it now must have; and not only that, but it will have nothing else. This is the secret of the formation of all the evil habits of appetite that are known to the human race; and these habits unchecked soon dominate the life.MEDM May 1904, page 130.6

    “God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” Every organ and every function of the physical system God made for good; and only good can come from their proper use. On the other hand, it is safe to say that there is hardly an organ or a function that has not been perverted by the abuse that has been heaped upon it by men; and the result is seen in the mass of misery that fills the world to-day.MEDM May 1904, page 130.7

    Yet from it all Christ will redeem and save every soul if we will but yield our selves, both soul and body, to his gracious control. “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? ... hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”MEDM May 1904, page 130.8

    ALONZO T. JONES.

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