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"The fruit of the Spirit is.


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HEN, from any exciting causes, a subject of importance has been discussed with such variety of opinions that it has well-nigh become "puzzled out of all intelligibility," it appears necessary to bring it to the test of the first principles of truth. This I apprehend to be the case with the subject of temperance. As one "set for the defence of the gospel," whose official duty it is to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered for the saints," I intend, with His permission, and in dependence on His aid, to give what I believe to be the mind of the Spirit on the point in question. In a professedly Christian community the appeal is "to the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." It cannot be conceded for one moment that any question of moral obligation may be decided independently of "the only infallible rule of faith and of practice, the Bible, from which nothing is to be taken, and to which nothing is to be added, at any time or under any pretense, whether of new revelations of the Spirit,or traditions of men." The

Word of God is the only system of morals which answers the purpose of a rule of life, for it alone comes to us having the sanction of supreme authority-brings the realities of the eternal world to bear upon the regulation of our conduct in this, and is attended with that almighty influence which it is competent only to its Author to exert, and by which the nature and life of man may be molded into conformity to the Divine will-"We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

It is one of the prolific causes, and one of the most conclusive symptoms of heresy, to form opinions on duty independently of the holy oracles; and then, instead of allowing these opinions to be molded or set aside by the sure testimony of God, to use every effort to force that testimony into a seeming consistency with these previous decisions. But "we have a more sure word of prophecy, to which ye do well that ye take heed, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day-star arise in your hearts."

I shall first direct your attention to what the holy Scriptures teach on the subject of temperance, and enforce the duty; and secondly, examine the claim of the novel doctrine of total abstinence to be the Christian grace and duty of temperance.

First, in considering what the Spirit saith unto the churches on this subject, I ask your attention

to the import of the duty of temperance, and to the divinely appointed means of its promotion.

In inquiring into the meaning of a record, we must ascertain the usage of its terms. The word rendered "temperance" occurs four times, the adjective" temperate" once, and the corresponding verb rendered once," contain," and another time, "be temperate," twice.

The term temperance occurs, Acts xxiv., 25: "And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled." The word here signifies continence or chastity. Felix had committed adultery with Drusilla by marrying her before the death of her former husband, and it is not improbable that he was also guilty of drunkenness, for he is charged in general with all sorts of crimes. Again, it is found in the text, where it closes the list of the fruits of the Spirit, and is opposed to drunkenness and other excesses in the previous context. And again, it is used twice in 2 Pet. i., 5, 6. "Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience." Here also it forms one of the distinctive graces of Christian character.

The adjective temperate is used in the same sense, Titus i., 7, 8: "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover to hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just holy, temperate." Here it is op

posed not only to being given to wine, but to wilfulness, passionateness, quarrelsomeness and avarice.

The corresponding verb is rendered, 1 Cor. vii., 9, "contain," in reference to sin against the seventh commandment: "But if they cannot contain, let them marry." And again, ix., 25, it is rendered, "be temperate": "And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things," compared with verse 27, "I keep under my body and bring it into subjection."

Schleusner's definition of the original term for temperance is: "Temperance, abstinence, continence, which is discerned not only in the power with which any one restrains himself from too much food and drink, but in the firm and moderate government of reason over lust and other improper propensities of the mind."

As a fruit of the Spirit, and as a Christian duty it implies that special divine influence of the Holy Spirit, by which the new man in Christ Jesus is enabled to govern himself according to the divine word in respect to all the propensities of his nature in the inward and outward man. It comprehends much more than mere freedom from drunkenness, which may be found when other sinful propensities are indulged to the greatest excess. It is opposed to the unlawful and excessive indulgence of any propensity, and it is associated with its only true and efficient cause, the Holy Spirit, in the regenerated heart "as a well of water, springing up unto eternal life."

None, therefore, are truly temperate but true Christians; for while some may be free from excess in one direction and some in another, some in the lusts that have their seat in the animal part of man, as gluttony, drunkenness, fornication, lasciviousness; others in one or more of the lusts which have their seat in the mind or spiritual part of the man, such as envy, hatred, malice, idolatry, covetousness, none but the true children of God, by regeneration and adoption, and the indwelling of the Spirit of power and might, and of a sound mind, are preserved from ruinous excess in one or more of these ways. From this review of the words expressing temperance, in all the places wherein they occur in holy Scripture, it is manifest that their views are extremely limited and imperfect who confine this grace and duty to the mere freedom from drunkenness. Men may be imtemperate to delirium; they may be rabid from envy, and pride, and anger, and malice; they may be "mad upon their idols," while they suppose themselves the exclusive friends of temperance, because they oppose drunkenness in a way of human invention, they may be guilty of intemperance themselves in ways more offensive to God, and more injurious to themselves and their neighbors, than drunkenness itself. If the poor inebriate has claims upon the compassion of his fellow-men, much more have they or if rebuke befits them better, let them hear the voice that speaks to them from heaven: "Thou hypocrite, first pluck the beam out of thine

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